Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) is ready to battle over the omnibus spending bill. According to Roll Call, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has taken notice:
Although Reid had initially intended to begin work on an omnibus spending bill after the tax vote, he is now pushing it off until late Thursday in the face of stiff GOP opposition. Republicans have threatened to filibuster the omnibus, and DeMint said Tuesday that he would force a reading of the bill on the floor, a process that could take 60 to 70 hours, a Reid aide said.
Reid could begin debate on the omnibus bill before Thursday, because Senate rules allow debate on the arms reduction treaty with Russia and the omnibus to occur simultaneously.
However, by delaying the start of the omnibus debate until late Thursday, Reid appears to be trying to box Republican opponents into either voting for the measure Saturday, when the current continuing resolution funding the government will expire, or shut down the government by filibustering the bill.
DeMint warned National Review Online on Monday about Reid’s potential maneuver. “Sounds like they want to dual-track [the START treaty] with the terrible omnibus bill,” he said. “I’m really concerned . . . . I’m not going to be sleeping very well this week.”
Wesley Denton, a DeMint spokesman, tells NRO that despite pressure from Reid, the South Carolinian plans to read aloud the omnibus bill, for as long as it takes. He will point out that the Senate could easily pass a continuing resolution sans pork-laden projects.
“This 2,000-page bill is so packed with pork and objectionable legislative items it could take weeks until we know the policy implications, but Reid wants to ram it through in a few days,” Denton says. “This stampede of spending and bad policy is exactly what voters rejected in November. Senator DeMint will continue working with Republican colleagues to expose the bill’s waste and he’ll fight to stop the rush to pass it on the Senate floor.”