The massive $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill, a nearly 2,000-page monstrosity which contained 6,714 earmarks worth about $8.3 billion, was yanked back by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday night as it became clear the votes to pass it just did not exist.
A short-term “continuing resolution,” which would fund the government through February, would now seem to be the only option.
Reid said on the floor of the Senate that he had had assurances from nine Republicans that they would vote for the bill — and that all of them, whom he declined to name, walked away from the bill.
Now Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Reid will be working together to come up with the continuing resolution which will allow the Republican House to revisit spending after the first of the year.
McConnell said after the bill was pulled back that this was the “first time in modern history … that not a single appropriations bill went across the Senate floor.”
McConnell went on to say the Appropriations Committee had, in a bipartisan way, done its job but the full Senate had not:
And so what we ended up with, Mr. President (of the Senate), was this, this almost 2,000 page omnibus appropriation bill which we only got, it was yesterday? Yesterday. And so the point here is the work that the Appropriations Committee did in many respects was squandered because the full senate didn’t do its job. And this is precisely the kind of thing the American people have gotten tired of.
According to Oklahoma Senator Dr. Tom Coburn the C.R. is the preferable option.
Among other things, Coburn takes issue with the $8.3 billion worth of earmarks included in the legislation — earmarks his spokesman John Hart said Thursday are the “gateway drug of spending addiction.”
Hart said Coburn’s hope is very straightforward.
What Coburn is calling for, Hart said, is a freeze of spending levels at the 2008 level. Something the Wall Street Journal says 80 percent of the nation would support. That $8.3 billion, by the way, is roughly half the difference between the dead spending bill and what was spent in 2008.