On Mark Levin’s Fox News show “Life, Liberty and Levin” on Sunday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) criticized the process of passing the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill last week by saying “it is one of the most deeply disturbing things that I experience as a member of the United States Senate.”
“[M]ost of the American people are effectively disenfranchised from this process because their elected senators and representatives are outside of that room where a small handful of leaders is negotiating this bill in private,” Lee said. “By the time it comes out into public, there isn’t time to debate it, discuss it, amend it, to improve it.”
“There isn’t time to receive adequate feedback from the American people, and the members themselves who are being asked to vote on this are themselves not fully aware of what’s in it,” he said. “It’s wrong.”
Lee continued, “And it will continue until this process doesn’t work. In the meantime, it’s kind of nice to be one of those few people in that room negotiating it. You get more powerful every time it happens. But it’s really bad for the American people, and it is one of the most deeply disturbing things that I experience as a member of the United States Senate.”
Below is a transcript of Sen. Mike Lee’s remarks from “Life, Liberty and Levin”
Mark Levin: “I want to turn to something that’s just occurred and that’s this budget process and appropriation process in the United States congress. Jim Jordan has said that, the congressman from Ohio, and freedom caucus member, that they had 17 hours between the time a 2200-page bill, which had been written in secret by the leadership, was presented to the House of Representatives, and to vote. And so really nobody, even Evelyn Wood herself, wouldn’t have been able to get through that on time. Same thing is happening on the Senate side. As a matter of fact, you weren’t allowed to offer amendments and, you know, just as an American citizen, I look at this. We vote for our representatives to participate in this process, plus we would like to participate in this process, there’s supposed to be various appropriation bills that we can look at and so forth. What do you make of all this?”
Sen. Mike Lee: “2232 pages. That’s how long this spending bill was. It takes a long time even to get the fastest printers to print that out physically. It takes much longer to read 2232 pages of legislative text than it does a fast-paced novel. And so you’re right. Members voting on this don’t have a chance adequately to read it to understand what’s in it. Perhaps even more importantly, these words are negotiated in private by a small handful of legislative leaders. To the exclusion of everyone else. Meaning most of the American people are effectively disenfranchised from this process because their elected Senators and Representatives are outside of that room where a small handful of leaders is negotiating this bill in private. By the time it comes out into public, there isn’t time to debate it, discuss it, amend it, to improve it.