OBNOXIOUS DELAYS FOR THE SAKE OF OBNOXIOUS DELAYS…. The irony is, those who’ve been whining the loudest about the poor politicians who have to work in mid-December are the same ones dragging out the process, preventing members from going home.
Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was quite candid about the motivations for his shameless obstructionism: “What I’m trying to do is help run out the clock.”
And here’s how that effort plays out on the floor:
Republicans will paralyze the Senate floor for 50 hours by forcing clerks to read every single paragraph of the 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.
Senate clerks are expected to read the massive bill in rotating shifts around the clock — taking breaks to drink water and pop throat lozenges — to keep legislative business on track, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
The bill is so long that it took the Government Printing Office two days to print it.
The Senate is currently debating the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty. It is expected to take up the omnibus spending bill on a separate and parallel track later Thursday.
If Republicans follow through on their threat, legislative business couldn’t resume until late Saturday in order to give the staff enough time to read the bill aloud, according to a Democratic leadership estimate.
This is, of course, DeMint’s little tantrum. Once the reading is complete, the right-wing senator will vote against the omnibus anyway, and while claiming it’s “sacrilege” to ask public officials to do the people’s business in December.
And if the gambit pays off, and the omnibus fails, it’s likely Republicans will shut down the government over the weekend.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) appears to be sick of the GOP whining. “The irony, the hypocrisy of us sitting here with them standing up and saying ‘Oh my Gosh, it’s the last minute,’ ” he said. “It’s the last minute because they haven’t let us do anything. The game plan is usually to keep preventing things from happening.”
For his part, Vice President Biden isn’t impressed with Republicans’ Christmas rhetoric, either.