Friday, December 17, 2010

Working for The Weekend

After the delaying tactics such as demanding that the Senate clerks read every word of the big spending bill — over 1,900 pages — out loud and the Republicans basically backing down on a bill they originally created, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled the bill from consideration.

After long deliberations with Republican principals Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor that nine GOP members had reneged on their pledges to vote for the omnibus spending bill, which reflected months of bipartisan negotiations, and included earmarks benefiting both parties.

That left Reid several votes shy of the 60 he’d need to overcome a filibuster and essentially vaporized a year’s worth of work by the Appropriations Committee.

Democrats on the floor — including Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye — were visibly wounded by the development, and were unable to contain their anger after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rubbed in the salt. “There is only one reason cloture is not being filed,” McConnell said. “They don’t have the votes. And the reason he doesn’t have the votes is because members on [the Republican] side of the aisle increasingly felt concerned about the way we do business.”

Durbin barked under his breath at McConnell, but ultimately vented his frustrations through Reid. “I would like to ask the Majority Leader, does he recall the time when I returned from the Appropriations Committee and said that Senator McConnell had come to the committee and said that he was going to establish the maximum amount that he would vote for in all the appropriations bill…$1.108 trillion?” said Durbin in a veiled accusation of hypocrisy. “And I said to the Majority Leader, I think ultimately that’s what we’re going to be voting for is Senator McConnell’s number?”

Here we go again: Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football. Now they will come up with a compromise continuing resolution, and to continue the football metaphor, punt the issue to next year.

But on the upside, that clears the way for the Senate to vote on the repeal of DADT and the passage of the DREAM Act, both of which could happen this weekend. I don’t know about the DREAM Act’s chances, but there are at least 61 votes for DADT repeal… or so they say.