Blockade: GOP to Block All Senate Bills Other than Government Funding & Tax Cuts

By Josh

Dec 1, 2010 10:00am

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: Fed up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s focus on issues such as food safety, Senate Republicans today said they will block all legislation until lawmakers have figured out a way to fund the government and prevent the Bush tax cuts from expiring. In a letter to Reid signed by all 42 members of the Republican caucus, the GOP senators said, “We write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.” But thus far, one month after the mid-term elections, Reid has devoted the Senate’s lame-duck session to a sweeping food safety bill, while stating that he also plans to hold votes on other issues such as repealing the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, passing the DREAM Act to grant legal status to young illegal immigrants who serve in the military or go to college, and ratifying the START nuclear treaty with Russia. Meanwhile, government funding will run out on Friday unless lawmakers pass another continuing resolution to prevent a federal shutdown. The House today will take up a continuing resolution to extend government funding for two weeks to give Congress more time to figure out a longer-term solution. In addition, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire on December 31. This morning, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management & Budget director Jack Lew will meet with a group of four lawmakers from each caucus: Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Chris Van Hollen will represent the Democrats, while Sen. Jon Kyl and Rep. Dave Camp will do the same for Republicans. While Republicans say their decision to block all Senate action related to any issues other than government funding or the tax cuts hammers home the point that “it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities,” it also stems from the knowledge that they are in a position of strength since come January they will take over control of the House and gain seats in the Senate. Democrats, meanwhile, argue that the GOP’s vow to filibuster a wide range of issues is evidence that Republicans have become the “Party of No.” “With this letter they have simply put in writing the political strategy that Republicans have pursued this entire congress: namely obstruct, delay, obstruct and delay action on critical matters, then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people,” Reid said on the Senate floor this morning. “Very cynical, but very obvious and very transparent.”

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