SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee voted against the failed bill that resulted in a federal government shutdown last Friday and also voted against the bill Monday that reopened federal agencies.
Utah's Republican junior senator has a longstanding problem with funding government through continuing resolutions, which he calls "ticking time bombs" that inevitably lead to more shutdowns.
As long as Congress "reflexively" votes for stopgap measures to keep government going, the threat will continue, he said on KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show."
Lee said continuing resolutions will be brought up until they are no longer an option, and the only way to stop that is to vote no.
The House and the Senate voted Monday to end the shutdown, extending funding for three weeks, following a deal between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., regarding assurances related to immigration. President Donald Trump signed the bill later Monday, ending the deadlock.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, voted for both spending bills.
The prospect of another shutdown looms Feb. 8.
Lee said given that part of the deal is to bring an immigration bill, a shutdown next month appears less likely.
But "the odds go up the longer we wait in the process."
Congress should consider a spending bill weeks not hours before federal funding is set to expire to allow adequate time for debate and amendments, he said. Waiting until the last minute increases the risk of a shutdown, Lee said.
Using continuing resolutions, the senator said, also consolidates power among a few in Congress while disenfranchising everyone else.