Freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) threatened bold action on the senate floor Tuesday, announcing that unless Democrats initiate an open debate on a budget resolution, he would begin objecting to “unanimous consent” agreements. It is a powerful threat, which if carried out could seriously disrupt the Senate calendar and ultimately bring the chamber to a standstill. “America is going bankrupt, and the Senate refuses to pass a budget,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, this has become business as usual in Washington.” If fact, it’s been almost 800 days since the Senate has done so under Democratic leadership.
As a freshman senator, Johnson said he was sent to Washington to reject “business as usual,” and that is exactly what he intends to do. “America is simply too precious to subject out financial future to Washington’s ‘business as usual,’” he said. “So unless we receive some assurance from the Democrat leadership that we will actually start addressing our budget out in the open, in the bright light of day — I will begin to object. I will begin to withhold my consent.”
“The Senate needs to pass a budget. It shouldn’t be that difficult.”
UPDATE: Well, just several hours later, after forcing senators to convene for a “live” quorum call, Johnson relented and allowed Senate business to process on schedule, acknowledging the “hard work” of his colleagues on the various legislative items awaiting votes on Wednesday.
“I realize a number of people in this chamber are asking why am I doing this,” Johnson said on the senate floor. “But I didn’t run for the United States Senate because I wanted to be a senator. I ran because government is bankrupting America.” He did not completely withdraw his threat, however, promising to be back “unless the Senate gets serious” about the budget.