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.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the Senate Republican Steering Committee chairman, vowed not to back down.
“If they bring this up, they’re going to read it. It’ll take them a day or two to read it,” DeMint said on Fox News. “Again, we’re trying to run out the clock. They should not be able to pass this kind of legislation in a lame-duck Congress.”
Snow began blanketing the Capitol on Thursday and the forecast calls for more on Sunday, when the Senate is expected to be in session. It’s a scenario that recalls the hectic finish to the healthcare reform debate last year.
“Well, here we go again,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on the Senate floor Thursday. “All of this is eerily familiar to anyone who remembers the healthcare debate. We’ve even got snow in the forecast — just like last year, when we voted on the healthcare bill in a blizzard.”
McConnell has offered as an alternative a one-page continuing resolution that would fund the government through Feb. 18 at current levels.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the lead GOP negotiator on START ratification, argued the Senate should not be trying to rush the treaty and spending bill through the Senate simultaneously.
“To suggest that we can dual-track an issue as important as the funding of the government with this almost 2,000-page, $1 trillion-plus bill at the same time that we are seriously debating the START treaty is a fantasy,” Kyl told reporters Wednesday.
If Congress fails to pass a spending bill before Sunday, all non-essential portions of the federal government are effectively “shutdown.” Regardless, Newt Gingrich tells HUMAN EVENTS that Republicans must filibuster the Omnibus bill and not allow it to move in the Senate.
Republicans should offer to pass a “very clean, simple Continuing Resolution that keeps the government open.” The GOP shouldn’t budge, insists the former Speaker of the House. “This [past] election was in part over pork-barrel spending by earmarks” and the “Democrats are trying to behave as though the election didn’t occur.”
As reported by HUMAN EVENTS, Harry Reid’s Omnibus behemoth has 6,714 earmarks in it, totaling $8.3 billion, which would fund “pork” projects including the production of virus-free wine grapes, the monitoring of aquatic invasive species in the Columbia River Basin, the building solar parking canopies, and the harvesting of salmon.
Newt also favors the tax “compromise” arranged by Obama and GOP leaders, arguing that it’s a necessary bridge to avoid further economic malaise.
“If taxes go up on Jan. 1, you’re going to have an enormous mess in this country, and we’re already at 9.8 percent unemployment. . .
“Nobody should believe that a two-year extension of the current tax code is a stimulus. It’s a catastrophe avoidance; it’s a disaster avoidance, but it’s not a stimulus. In order to get this economy growing again, we need substantially more real permanent tax cuts that incentivize manufacturing, incentivize investment, [and] incentivize small business. Give people who create jobs a reason to go back out and create jobs.”