REID REMINDS GOP: ‘CONGRESS ENDS ON JAN. 4’…. We’ve seen a fair number of instances lately in which the parties play a game of chicken — waiting to see which side will blink first. The latest has to do with the Senate calendar, and at this point, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is saying exactly what he should be saying.
To briefly summarize, there are several key priorities the majority intends to tackle in this lame-duck session. Several Senate Republicans believe if they use enough obnoxious delaying tactics, Democrats will simply give up and go home.
In the latest example of this, the Senate is preparing to vote on an omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the chamber’s most right-wing members, intend to demand that the clerk of the Senate read the spending bill, out loud and in its entirety, before it’s voted on.
The omnibus is 1,924 pages.
Coburn and DeMint aren’t just motivated by “dickishness” — though that’s part of it — the goal is to slow things down to prevent votes on other bills.
It’s important, then, that the Democratic leadership makes clear that the tactics won’t work. The notion of wrapping up the session this Friday has already been thrown out the window; the next step is Reid making clear that he’s more concerned with getting everything done than he is with going home.
Senate Democrats are preparing to stay in session right up to Christmas Day to try to finish their work.
Democratic staff directors warned staffers Monday not to make any plans to travel next week, according to one top Democratic source. Christmas Eve is Friday and Christmas Day is Saturday.
“The only way to get everything done is to stay longer — unless Republicans will allow time to be pulled back,” the Democratic source said.
It’s already assumed that members will be working next week. More to the point, Reid also said that coming back after Christmas is a real possibility if next week doesn’t go as smoothly as it should.
“There’s still Congress after Christmas. We’re not through,” Reid told reporters today. “Congress ends on Jan. 4.”
Good for him. If it’s up to Dems, the to-do list could be tackled quite quickly. But if the likes of Coburn and DeMint want to drag this out, Dems have to be prepared to call their bluff.