WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate late Saturday night cleared the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund almost all of the government through September, sending it to President Barack Obama’s desk.
Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson voted in favor of the measure, which passed 56-40, with a mix of Democrats and Republicans. In a prepared statement, Isakson said omnibus spending bills are “never a good way to do business” and pledged the Republican majority will conduct a more transparent appropriations process next year. He added:
“The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus included a number of important provisions for America and for Georgia. First and foremost, the bill keeps the administration on a short leash by giving the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces immigration, only enough funding to operate until February 2015. That allows the new Republican majority to then revisit this agency’s budget and begin to dismantle the effects of the president’s amnesty executive order. I also voted to condemn the president’s amnesty executive action by supporting a point of order tonight declaring it unconstitutional.”
The final sentence is a reference to a constitutional point of order put forth by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who prompted today’s 10-hour vote-a-rama on the floor of the U.S. Senate by pushing for an immigration-related vote rather than allowing unanimous consent to hold the spending vote Monday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took advantage of the opportunity to stage a series of votes on Obama administration nominees, to the consternation of many Republicans.
Isakson was one of 22 Republicans to vote in favor of Cruz’s measure to declare Obama’s executive action on immigration unconstitutional and send the spending bill back to the House. Many of the Republicans siding with Cruz are, like Isakson, up for re-election in 2016.
Isakson’s retiring counterpart, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, did not attend the 10-hour vote-a-rama. He confirmed via text message that he is back home in Georgia. “Did not need my vote,” Chambliss wrote.
A spokeswoman later passed along a prepared statement from Chambliss supporting the spending bill:
“There are many provisions in this bill that will greatly benefit Georgia, particularly from a defense standpoint. It also includes language and additional funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and makes significant changes to the EPA regulation relative to navigable waters that provides a needed exemption for the agriculture community.”