Washington — Senate Republican leaders have lashed out at the 1,924-page omnibus spending bill introduced today, and chided Majority Leader Harry Reid’s announcement that the Senate would stay in session “no matter how long it takes” to address the remainder of the Democratic agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) called the bill “inappropriate” and said the situation was “eerily reminiscent of last year,” when Democrats introduced a 2,700-page bill spending late in the session that few members had seen, much less had time to review. “This is exactly what the American people said on November 2 they did not want us to do,” he said. “This bill should not go forward.”
McConnell said there was broad consensus among Senate Republicans in opposition to both the omnibus package and a smaller continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government through the end of 2011. He said he favored a short-term CR that would fund the government “probably till next February,” allowing the new Congress to proceed from there.
On the tax deal, which could see an up-or-down vote in the Senate sometime this evening, McConnell warned members of the House against trying to amend the current package. “This agreement is not subject to being reopened,” he said, adding: “I hope our friends in the House understand that the best way to go forward is to pass the Senate bill.”
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) referenced the words of retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), who in his final speech on the floor earlier today spoke reverently of the Senate as a “great deliberative body.” Kyl said it would be “simply impossible” for the Senate to address everything on Reid’s agenda “without disrespecting the institution, and without disrespecting the [Christmas holiday].”