Senate whiplash over legislative agenda
December 15th, 2010
08:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate whiplash over legislative agenda

Washington (CNN) – If you thought the quick agreement on a recent tax cut bill meant bipartisanship was taking hold in the Senate, brace yourself for whiplash as the chamber turns to several hotly contested bills Democrats want to clear before adjourning - a legislative push that has left Republicans fuming.

First up will be the New START nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia, which key Republicans are working to block – primarily, they argue, because there is not enough time left in the lame duck congressional session to debate the issue adequately. Formal consideration of the far-reaching treaty begins Thursday morning.

However, by the afternoon, according to a Democratic leadership aide, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to shelve the treaty temporarily so that senators can begin debating a giant spending bill. Many Republicans oppose the bill, which would fund the government next year, describing it as too expensive and loaded with controversial earmarks.

Reid needs to turn to the spending bill because the government runs out of money Saturday. Complicating things, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, in an act of protest against the measure, is insisting a clerk read aloud on the Senate floor the billl's nearly 2,000 pages, word for word, before any votes are allowed. That could take about 50 hours, according to Reid's office. If the Senate goes overnight, it would finish the bill's reading Saturday afternoon.

Once the reading is complete, the Senate would turn attention back to the nuclear arms reduction treaty. According to the Democratic leadership aide, debate will continue on the treaty possibly until 1 a.m. Monday morning. At that point they'll turn back again to the spending bill and have a procedural vote that could clear the way for a final vote later in the week.

Before finishing the lame duck session, Reid has also vowed to take up a repeal of the military's policy barring gay men and lesbians from openly serving – passed by the House Wednesday night - and an immigration measure called the DREAM act. Most Republicans strongly oppose both.

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Firedog51

    Well lets see, 89 fillabusters, tax breaks at the end of a gun, the START treaty being held up for nothing but partisan gain, don't let willing gays serve their country and undermining a lawfully elected president and they have to get work done that they have stalled for whatever reason. Lock them for Christmas and new years too, the bastards deserve it.

    December 15, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. Debbie from Arizona

    The Republicans have no one to blame but themselves, if they have to postpone their Christmas holiday. They have delayed, threatened and obstructed their way through the whole year. Do your job or get the heck out of Congress.

    December 15, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. KatR

    Has anybody watched C-SPAN of the Senate? I disgusts me. Every local meeting of an organization I've been to, private or public, has rules of order. These jokers mill around the center of the chamber making deals while others are heaven knows where while a vote is going on! Those desks, occupied by our founders, are empty!! Only 1/4 of the senators are even in the chamber. Where or where is the respect for the American people?

    December 15, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Henry Miller

    Yeah, the Dems are getting a rep for "Don't read, just vote." Irresponsibility seems to be one of their principal characteristics.

    December 15, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It would have been nice that the Senate would have moved this quickly during the year. It is too bad that it doesn't work like that ordinarily.

    December 15, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    So Harry Reid continues his assault on the US Treasury even after results of November's elections. Some people never get it.

    December 15, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. bj

    We were talking the other day and OUR POLL states that 100% of the respondents believe that those folks (Repubs) would rather see our country fail in national security than give any credit to Obama. Can you imagine the energy is so skewed with Obama, they would rather not sign the treaty. I can believe, all I have to do is read the history books (that have not be distorted by Texans to figure why).

    December 15, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. byranical

    They should have done these things before the mid-term elections. I hope they can get these items through. I am FED UP with the Repugs obstructing everything the Dems propose.

    December 16, 2010 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  9. Jayson

    Too bad the current situation of rushing to pass bills would have been completely unnecessarynif our supposed Constitutional scholar had stepped down on his place on high long enough to realize that there was no way his health care would ever pass Constitutional muster......

    December 16, 2010 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  10. Sherri W.W.

    They BETTER learn to KEEP working togethe!~Not likely but thats the ONLY way this country will get straightened out~and~if DEMINT insists on reading this 2000 page bill[hmm~wasnt heath care bill about that many pages and so many of them thought that was awful!?]~Anyway,if Demint or ANY more Congress People want ti KEEP READING AND DOING NONSENSE,TO KEEP FROM "DOING THE PEOPLES BUSINESS"THEN REMEMBER WHO THEY ARE AND VOTE EM OUT ASAP!

    December 16, 2010 07:03 am at 7:03 am |