McConnell’s conflict with his Republican opponent shifts to a new front

Republican opponent shifts: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defeated Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) bid to succeed him, but the fight is far from over. McConnell is now battling Scott and other Senate conservatives over whether to block a year-end spending bill before Christmas.

The GOP leader wants to pass the omnibus package funding the federal government before the end of December, according to Senate Republican and Democratic sources. But he’s coming under increasing pressure from conservatives who want to freeze federal spending until January, when Republicans will take control of the House.

Scott told The Hill he plans to “actively” press for a stopgap funding measure freezing federal spending levels until next year, something he and Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) called for in September in a Fox News op-ed.

This would put spending talks on hold until Republicans gain control of the House and have more leverage to negotiate the overall budget and specific priorities, such as more funding to secure the US-Mexico border. “We have to have the plan to deal with inflation, we’ve got to have the plan to deal with the border,” Scott said. “My goal is to organize Republicans to have our ideas, what we’re going to get done.”

Scott, who colleagues believed was considering a presidential run in 2024, has stated that he is focused on the Senate and seeking reelection to a second term. “I think my role is trying to do the things that are important for Floridians,” he said. “I plan to run for reelection as U.S. senator.” Another conservative Republican senator confirmed that another stopgap measure known as a continuing resolution, or CR, will be proposed. The current CR expires on December 16.

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