GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Calls Out Fly-by-Night Chip Spending Push Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks at a Senate Committee On Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 18, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Friday, 28 May 2021 10:09 AM
The Senate dug in for a Memorial Day weekend battle on $250 billion in spending to combat China's technological power and the Jan. 6 commission, which Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., warned might take "a long time."
Republican senators stalled debate and amendments on The American Innovation and Competition Act, which aimed to deliver $50 billion in emergency funding to aid U.S. chip manufacturing to combat China's hold in that market.
The Senate stayed in session until 3 a.m. ET on Friday morning before resuming at 9 a.m. ET.
Johnson called out the clandestine tacking on of amendments as the Senate tried to squeeze through more massive spending, tweeting as the Senate broke for an overnight break:
"May 13, 730 pages reported out of committee. May 19, the bill grew to 1,445 pages. Today, we voted on an amendment, nearly 900 more pages. Tonight, we were given a list of amendments but 0 pages on what's going to be added. This is far from a deliberative process."
As the Senate resumed debate Friday morning, Johnson tweeted again, calling out the fly-by-night efforts to pass billions in spending in a rush before a holiday break:
"Why do we keep mortgaging our children’s future? I'm asking all voters who care about their kids and grandkids to contact their senators ASAP to vote against this quarter-trillion dollar waste of money we don’t have.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who has joined Johnson in a number of Senate GOP objections of late, rejected the Senate Democrats' attempts to pack a bill at the 11th hour before a holiday break.
"We haven't had time to read this — no one has," Scott said, The Hill reported.
Democrats argued most of the amendments were brought forward by Republicans, something Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., hailed as an effort of bipartisanship.
"Here on the floor, we've held the kind of vigorous, bipartisan, open amendment process that senators have been calling for," Schumer said, Politico reported. "Some of these votes were tough for our side. In the old days, we would have said no. We said yes, we'll vote for them."
But, the rush to pass massive spending still concerns Republicans.
"We did a piss-poor job of negotiating this," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said, Politico reported, adding Schumer is "running around like a 5-year-old in a Batman costume, he's so excited."
The Senate-led bill would still need 60 votes to pass, which would require getting 10 Republicans on board with Democrats – hence the amendments – and then have to proceed through the House and its tightly held Democrat majority.
The Senate is also still sitting on voting on the House-passed Jan. 6 Commission, which has stout objection from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.