Exasperated over last-minute budget vote, Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez find rare agreement

With 5,593 pages delivered late Monday, review of the $2.3 trillion bill was too rushed, they say.

Though all but polar opposites in U.S. politics, conservative Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, were in agreement Monday that Congress had been given too little time to review the latest 5,593-page federal budget bill.

Senators and House members alike raced late Monday to approve the $2.3 trillion spending package, which included $900 billion in economic stimulus and coronavirus pandemic relief.

“It’s not good enough to hear about what’s in the bill,” Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat popularly known as “AOC” said early Monday on Twitter. “Members of Congress need to see and read the bills we are expected to vote on.”

She noted that Congress was being asked to approve its second largest spending measure in history by day’s end, yet by 1 p.m. local time, members had not seen the text.

Ocasio-Cortez added that “the people of this country deserve to know. They deserve better.”

A few hours later, Lee tweeted “I agree” in a reply. The Utah senator went on to post a video denouncing the process.

“I’ve been in the Senate now for 10 years, and this is by far the longest bill I’ve ever seen,” a frustrated Lee said that afternoon in Washington, gesturing toward a copying machine as it printed page after page of the critical bill.

The situation was “extraordinary,” Lee said. “Because of the length, it is impossible that anyone will have the opportunity to read it between now and the time we will vote.”

“This process,” Lee added, “by which members of Congress are asked to defer blindly to legislation negotiated entirely in secret by four of their colleagues, must come to an end.”