United States Sen. Ben Sasse defends his vote against a bill to fund the federal government, insisting all the “shut down the government” talk in Washington presents a false choice.
Sasse, a Republican, calls the budget crisis a manufactured crisis.
“In the last 37 years, only twice has the regular appropriations process actually been used; twice, in 37 years,” Sasse tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “What they do is they wait until the end of the year every time, then they manufactured this absurd false choice between shut it down and fund it all.”
The Senate has voted to fund the federal government through the 11th of December. The bill now goes to the House. If approved by midnight, funding for the federal government continues as the federal fiscal year begins.
The Senate voted 78-to-20 in favor of the legislation, which left out a controversial provision to take funding away from Planned Parenthood.
Sasse refused to vote for the measure, saying he will not participate in what he calls a false choice.
“It’s absolutely a false choice. It’s not true,” Sasse says. “And I’m not going to vote for things that say the only choice is to grow government, because the people who are supposedly in leadership never bothered paying attention to the issues until there were three or four days left in the year. They manufacture crisis-to-crisis brinkmanship so they can grow government without any serious conversation about reform.”
Sasse lays some of the blame for the budget crisis at the feet of his Republican leaders.
Sasse says the seeds of the crisis were sown earlier this year when one of 12 budget bills reached the Senate floor for debate. Democrats filibustered it and Republican leadership gave up and went to other legislation.
“Why would we not have brought up each of those 12 bills?” Sasse asks. “Let’s say that nine of them passed or 10 of them passed or 11 of them passed. Obviously, there are controversial fights to be had, like Planned Parenthood, and I want to have that fight, but we should be funding, proactively, all of the other essential parts of the federal government first and we should have done it in June and July and August.”