Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are trying to broker an agreement that “allows his party to claim some small measure of victory at the end of what has been an otherwise dysfunctional legislative session.”
McConnell is willing to work with Reid as long as Reid doesn’t load up the agenda with controversial items. On the other hand Reid wants to pass legislation to keep the government open, fund the fights against Ebola and ISIS and confirm as many of Obama’s nominations as possible.
Both sides are optimistic about a deal.
A senior Democratic aide said brokering a deal with McConnell on what will pass in the lame-duck period is possible if the GOP leader agrees to move a bloc of nominees and pass an omnibus spending bill despite the objections of conservatives.
“It depends, No. 1, on their ability to keep their hard right in line so we can get an omnibus done. If they can do that, that will help. And we need some kind of agreement that processes a lot of the nominees without dragging them out,” the aide said of the GOP leadership.
Republicans have some leverage as outgoing Senators who lost their reelection bids aren’t going to want to hang around the capitol for some “marathon lame duck” session to wear down the GOP.
But some high profile GOP Senators like Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) don’t want any of the Democrat’s “business” finished. “Why should we do anything on our side?” said one senior GOP aide, reflecting the Tea Party view. “Why should we agree to anything in the lame-duck? We should turn off the lights, head out the door and come back when we have a bigger majority.”
McConnell, however, wants to pass legislation to keep the government funded and “also wants to extend authority for the administration to train and equip Syrian rebels in the ISIS fight, extend the Internet tax moratorium, renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and pass a satellite TV bill.”
Republicans want to avoid any talk of a government shutdown by funding the government through September 2015.