Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has never been shy when it comes to criticizing his own party, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was no exception on Thursday. The former presidential candidate took the Senate floor to reply to Lee’s criticism of the looming bicameral conference regarding the budget debt ceiling, and blatantly called into question Lee's understanding of congressional procedure.
McCain responded to Lee by telling him to “learn a little bit more about how business has been done in the Congress of the United States." The dig came when Lee suggested on Thursday that there was an issue with the way business has been conducted in our government. He chose to visually express his frustration about the conference with a less than clever sign stating there were “61 days preventing a back room deal to raise the debt limit.” But throughout his tirade he misdirects his criticism toward the system rather than the elected officials in the system, leaving an opening for the veteran Senator to justifiably pounce.
McCain argued that the conference system is a productive and bipartisan way to conduct business. By telling Lee to learn a little bit more, he’s calling out the fact that a conference is the necessary next step when finding a budgetary solution. Lee even says it himself that he “doesn’t trust congress not to raise the debt limit,” invalidating his own argument about this system and showing rather it’s the people within it.
McCain’s criticism of Lee and the GOP is spot on. To call a conference a “backroom deal” attacks the process, when in reality it’s the people entering the room who have been causing the issue that has consistently upset the American people. Preventing bicameral conferences won’t meet any of the GOP's budgetary agendas, and thankfully McCain reminded them of how voting and compromise are supposed to work on Capitol Hill.