Along with a litany of pork barrel spending and woke priorities (see examples here, here, and here), the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package to fund the government has yet to pass and that had Thursday’s CBS Mornings and NBC’s Today in a tizzy.
Their reason? Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has made a simple request for an amendment to extend Title 42 and thwart an even bigger tsunami of illegal immigration (compared to what we’ve seen the last two years).
CBS tacked it onto the end of a segment from correspondent Christina Ruffini recapping Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s primetime address to a joint session of Congress. Co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King asked Ruffini “where do things stand” on the bill as “the deadline…is Friday at midnight and right now, it seems that things are a little dicey.”
Ruffini quipped that “nothing happens in Washington without a deadline” with the holidays providing this backstop, adding that the Senate had hoped to “vote on it…last night, but they didn’t adjourn until after 2:00 a.m.” though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was hopeful to get it through Thursday.
She added that it was “being held up by an amendment to continue Title 42,” which she deemed “that controversial COVID border control measure.”
And on NBC’s Today, fill-in co-host Sheinelle Jones asked chief White House correspondent and Saturday Today co-host Peter Alexander how Congress would react to Zelenskyy’s speech and, naturally, Lee’s request was blamed for holding up aid to Ukraine.
“So, [supporters] want this nearly $45 billion to be going to Ukraine right now. It’s wrapped up in what is a $1.7 trillion spending package that Congress is negotiating as we speak. Overnight, the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, he expressed some optimism…they can get it done as early as this morning with lawmakers…trying to get out of town to their families before the storm hits D.C.,” Alexander explained.
However, he fretted that aid for Ukraine “could also fall apart at any moment because it’s tied up with other controversial issues, among them immigration.”
In the second half-hour, co-host Craig Melvin had a news brief that complained “momentum toward passing” the omnibus bill “appeared to slow yesterday” and increased the chances of “a partial government shutdown at midnight tomorrow.”
“At issue,” he huffed, was “a proposed amendment from Utah Senator Mike Lee seeking to extend pandemic-era restrictions on asylum seekers at the border” with “[t]alks are expected to continue this morning.”
Fretting about a government shutdown was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Lexus (on NBC) and Roman (on CBS). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from December 22, click “expand.”
December 22, 2022
7:11 a.m. Eastern
GAYLE KING: Before you go, though, where do things stand with the efforts to pass that government spending bill? You know, the deadline is — the deadline, rather, is Friday at midnight. And right now, it seems that things are a little dicey. What do you think? What are you hearing?
CHRISTINA RUFFINI: Well, you know, nothing happens in Washington without a deadline. Luckily, the holidays are coming up. Look, they were going to try to vote on it in the Senate last night, but they didn’t adjourn until after 2:00 a.m. It’s being held up by an amendment to continue Title 42. That’s that controversial COVID border control measure. But Schumer said he’s hoping they should be able to hammer something out this morning. Gayle?
KING: Yep. We’ve been there before.
December 22, 2022
7:15 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Zelenskyy Addresses U.S. Congress]
SHEINELLE JONES: How do we expect Congress to respond to this speech?
PETER ALEXANDER: So, they want this nearly $45 billion to be going to Ukraine right now. It’s wrapped up in what is a $1.7 trillion spending package that Congress is negotiating as we speak. Overnight, the Senate’s top Democrat, chuck Schumer, he expressed some optimism, Sheinelle, that they can get it done as early as this morning with lawmakers, obviously, like the rest of us, trying to get out of town to their families before the storm hits D.C. But this could also fall apart at any moment because it’s tied up with other controversial issues, among them immigration. So, for the moment, we should be keeping our eyes on today to see if they can get it done.
7:31 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today’s Headlines; Funding Bill Hanging in the Balance]
CRAIG MELVIN: Peter, you mentioned a short time ago earlier this morning, that $1.7 trillion government funding bill, momentum toward passing it appeared to slow yesterday. Lawmakers are starting to reach an agreement on an amendment needed to get to a final vote and avoid a partial government shutdown at midnight tomorrow. At issue, a proposed amendment from Utah Senator Mike Lee seeking to extend pandemic-era restrictions on asylum seekers at the border. Talks are expected to continue this morning.