Thursday, December 16, 2010

Closed for the Holidays

If the Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill by the end of the month, the government could shut down.

Republican and Democratic leaders are now engaged in a brinksmanship that could result in a temporary shutdown of the federal government. After the election, Republicans voted among themselves to eschew all earmarks for two years, and now they have to make good on their pledge. Yesterday, Democrats’ chief appropriator, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) unveiled what’s known as an omnibus spending bill — a bundled up package of appropriations legislation, earmarks, and other measures — which would keep the government running for a year.

In response, most Republicans — even those whose multimillion dollar earmark requests are included in the legislation — are saying, “Hell no you can’t!”

Talk about awkward; the GOP is threatening to shut down the government because the bill is full of the earmarks they campaigned against but also requested.

If the government shuts down, then Social Security checks stop going out, including those to the people who need them to pay for their next trip to a teabagger rally to demonstrate against the government.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is threatening to keep the Senate in session until everything that he wants to consider is dealt with, including the budget, New Start, and DADT. That brought whining from the right, including Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who was upset because it might cramp their holiday plans.

“It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out,” Kyl said today, “frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff.”

Not to be outdone in his religious outrage, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) claimed it was an affront to Heaven to hold the Senate open.

“We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful,” he told POLITICO. “What’s going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians.

Well, first, Christmas isn’t the “most sacred holiday” for Christians. That would be Easter; after all, if there wasn’t a Resurrection, there wouldn’t be any of that “Christ rose from the dead to save the world” stuff. As the doggerel goes, Roses are red, violets are bluish; if it wasn’t for Easter, you’d all be Jewish.

Mr. Reid was having none of it.

As a Christian, no one has to remind me of the importance of Christmas for all of the Christian faith, for all their families, all across America. I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Sen. Kyl and [Sen. Jim] DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means.

Where were their concerns about Christmas [when they were posing] filibuster after filibuster of every piece of legislation during this entire Congress?

Harry Reid, leading the War On Christmas right there on the Senate floor. Ho ho ho.