Scroll for updates…and contemplate this astounding fact: “For the first time in the history of the modern budget process, this Congress failed to even vote on a budget for next year.”
Whatever it takes, eh, Dingy Harry?
The big buzz in Washington this afternoon is over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s warning to colleagues that they’ll be working right up until Christmas — and perhaps beyond. Word is that he’ll try to keep the Senate in session until the very last seconds before the new Congress opens on January 5, 2011.
This means more time to pass all the last-ditch political pay-offs and massive expansions of government power, including DADT, the DREAM Act, and a little-noticed land grab omnibus bill which is the subject of my column tomorrow.
WSJ reports on Reid’s last stand.
And more from the National Journal:
Although Senate Democrats have said for weeks that they hope to vote on New START, many observers have doubted that the chamber will act until the next Congress begins in January.
In a floor exchange with Reid today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “I assume all of our member should expect that we will press on this weekend.”
Reid replied, “We need to stay here until we finish.”
Reid wants to pass a tax-deal bill by Tuesday after a cloture vote today, although aides said a final vote might wait until Wednesday.
The Senate must also complete a bill extending government funding past the current continuing resolution’s expiration this weekend. Democrats tentatively expect to take up that bill after the tax measure but said the schedule is fluid.
Time to roll out the cots again…
Dems gone wild. Reid and company drop a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, via Matt Cover at CNSNews.com:
Senate Democrats today introduced a 1,924-page omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2011, forgoing a planned continuing resolution to fund the federal government until the next Congress could take up the issue after Jan. 3.
The massive bill, the FY2011 Omnibus Appropriations Act, includes funding for the new health care law backed by the Obama administration, an increased number of I.R.S. agents, and an unknown number of earmarks.
The Senate had been scheduled to adjourn on Dec. 17, meaning that unless Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) elects to extend the current session, which he has hinted at doing, the bill theoretically would be voted on in less than three days. Reid has said that Congress could return right after Christmas to finish up legislative business.
The current continuing resolution to keep the government running expires on Dec. 18, meaning that unless new funding is approved — either with another continuing resolution or the omnibus bill — the federal government will be forced to shut down.
The omnibus spending bill is reported to cost $1.1 trillion, according to The Hill.
GOP Sen. Jim DeMint:
Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, chairman of the Senate Steering Committee and member of the Joint Economic Committee, made the following statement after Senate Democrats released a 1,924 page omnibus spending bill with thousands of earmarks attached.
“President Obama and Democrats have apparently learned nothing from this November’s election. This nearly 2,000-page omnibus filled with thousands of earmarks shows they are still determined to ram through as much big-government spending as they can in this lame duck session. Americans loudly demanded an end to the runaway spending, but Democrats are intent on raiding every taxpayer dollar that they can grab from the Treasury on their way out of power. This bill also funds the unconstitutional Obamacare law that Americans oppose and have asked Congress to fully repeal. Democrats haven’t given Republicans or the American people time to read the bill, but I’ll join with other Republican colleagues to force them to read it on the Senate floor.”
Via The Hill, here are Senate Republicans leaning yes. Omnibus-ted!
Despite strong opposition from Thune and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), several Senate Republicans are considering voting for the bill.
“That’s my intention,” said retiring Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) when asked if he would support the package.
Bennett said earmarks in the bill might give some of his GOP colleagues reason to hesitate but wouldn’t affect his vote.
“It will be tough for some, but not for me,” he said.
GOP Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Susan Collins (Maine) also told The Hill on Tuesday they would consider voting for the omnibus but want to review it before making a final decision.
Dig through the omnibus spending bill here.
James Richardson and RedState readers are on the case:
One commenter, who picked a page at random (877), found that the bill has designated $350 million to create a new “San Francisco Bay Restoration Program.” Others have noted that $413,000 have been appropriated for peanut research in the deep South and nearly $250,000 for virus free wine grapes in Washington State…
According to Sen. John McCain’s office, the legislation includes 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. In a speech from the floor of the Senate, McCain blasted the bill, asking is his colleagues if they had been “stricken with amnesia.”