Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2010

STILL ON TRACK FOR AN OMNIBUS SHOWDOWN.... Following up on yesterday's item, an omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year is still pending in the Senate, and will run into fierce Republican opposition when it's brought to the floor, probably on Saturday. The main GOP complaint: the laundry list of earmarks, many of which they personally put in the bill.

This morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated his demand that the Senate approve an extension of existing funding levels to keep the government's lights on through Feb. 18. At that point, McConnell said, the new, more right-wing Congress can decide how best to proceed. If Democrats refuse, Republicans may very well shut down the government.

The Democratic leadership doesn't seem receptive to McConnell's demands, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this afternoon that he'll proceed as planned with the omnibus.

The Nevada Democrat also lashed out at GOP critics of the bill's earmarks, arguing their opposition is merely political posturing and hypocritical because many of them have earmarks in the legislation.

"You can't have it both ways. If you go to H in the dictionary and see hypocrites, under that would be people who ask for earmarks but vote against them," he said.

Despite conservative threats to force a reading of the bill -- a tactic that would delay passage until after the midnight Saturday deadline to avoid a government shutdown -- Reid told reporters he will try to file cloture on the omnibus Thursday afternoon or evening.

"We'll take care of this. ... We're going to proceed as we are. I hope to sometime in the next 24 hours to file cloture" on the omnibus, Reid said.

Of course, soon after, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will very likely launch his tantrum, forcing clerks to read the entirety of the1,924-page bill, out loud, paralyzing the chamber for at least 50 hours.

In the meantime, the fact that Republicans, furious with funding for pet projects, are outraged by a bill stuffed with their own pet projects, continues to generate attention. I found this video, released this afternoon by Senate Democrats, to be pretty compelling:

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Take out the earmarks of all GOP Senators who aren't voting for the bill. Then they will have no objections to the bill, and won't win if they vote against it and it passes anyway.

Posted by: Mimikatz on December 16, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

They get away with this shit because they know the media -- and in particular a certain "news" outlet favored by their base -- will never report it honestly. The *only* place where this will be called out is on the Daily Show, and its audience already knows the score. So these douchebags get to have their cake and eat it too. Nice racket.

Posted by: jonas on December 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

This lame duck session has certainly produced one thing: Republicans are showing their true colors for all to see - the question is, will the American public see it for what it is?

...it's like the tree falling in the forest thing: if a Republican screws the American people, but nobody reports it, did it really happen?

Posted by: delNorte on December 16, 2010 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Is there some reason that 10 clerks can't start reading at 10 different places at the same time, and get it read out in 5 hrs?

Posted by: bushw on December 16, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

@jonas & delNorte - surprisingly, FOX & ABC did report on this rather forcefully. I was so shocked I had to do a double take to make sure they were calling out Republicans and not Dems.

Posted by: whichwitch on December 16, 2010 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Does McConnell understand that the date Feb 18th exposes GOP rhetoric on "rushing" legislation as hypocritical?

McConnell believes that the GOP can pass a revamped Omnibus in the same timeframe that the Dems used to pass the Stimulus, which became law on Feb 18, 2009, a timeframe that McConnell and other Republicans uniformly condemned as "rushed."

McConnell from spring 2009:
"If the stimulus bill taught us anything, it's that we should be wary anytime someone in Washington says the sky's going to fall unless Congress approves trillions of dollars immediately...Against Republican advice, they rushed the stimulus."

Shouldn't he follow his own advice from the same interview:
"We shouldn't rush again on something as important, and costly"

Full interview with video at http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2009/06/mcconnell_on_dems_rush_and_spe.html

Posted by: MassachusettsLiberalinDC on December 16, 2010 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

whichwitch, even more surprising is the article by AP on my Yahoo homepage. The first sentence reads:
"Twenty-five Senators, mostly REPUBLICANS(my emphasis)..."!!!!
The very first sentence of the very first paragraph! The sentence that even those who don't read the article, read. What next, pertinant questions?

Posted by: Doug on December 16, 2010 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I can't tell whether you think this bill is a good one or bad one. If it's full of crappy earmarks, why not just pass a continuing resolution and work on getting them out? Why shouldn't Pres. Obama insist on that and get out in front of the process? Why should he have to defend this piece of crap when he's running for reelection in 2012??

Posted by: DBL2 on December 16, 2010 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I’ll take John Boehner at his word. Nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen.... Once John Boehner is sworn in as speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower."

-- President Obama, moron or GOP Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by: square1 on December 16, 2010 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I predict Reid will falter and concede...oh, look--he already did. Apparently, even he realizes the American people REALLY don't want the government throwing more money down a rat hole.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzberg on December 17, 2010 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Mitch McConnell and the rest of the hypocrites in his party remind me of the story about the snail that gets mugged by two turtles. The victim calls the cops who show up at his house a short while later. The cops begin, "OK Mr. Snail, can you tell us what happened?" And the snail says, "Gosh, officers, it all happened so fast . . ."

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 17, 2010 at 4:58 AM | PERMALINK
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