Senate GOP Vows To Block All Action Until Tax Cut Deal Is Reached
The entire Senate GOP caucus has vowed to block any further legislative action other than budget measures and a tax cut deal:
Senate Republicans will block controversial legislation during the lame-duck Congress until a deal on tax cuts is worked out, according to a letter signed by every GOP senator.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Republicans said they would not agree to proceed on any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and prevent “the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.”
Democrats are facing pressure from their base to push through as many priority agenda items as possible during the lame-duck Congress. In particular, gay-rights activists are pushing for the end of the military’s prohibition of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces.
But the Senate’s ability to move forward on the tax issue seems dependent on the progress made by the group designated by President Obama on Tuesday to negotiate a compromise on tax cuts. That group, which includes Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jack Lew, along with House and Senate representatives from both parties, is scheduled to begin its meetings at the Capitol on Wednesday.
With just weeks left to go in the lame-duck before the Christmas holiday and recess, the clock is running out on Democrats.
McConnell expanded on this in an interview with ABC News:
Assuming that they stay united, the Republicans seem to be well situated to get what they want here. With 42 votes, they can block pretty much any piece of legislation they want through cloture votes, which strongly suggests that they’re going to largely get what they want. As does the comments from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that suggest the Administration is open to the idea to extending all the Bush tax cuts for at least a temporary period:
I’m not sure that Obama and the Democrats ever really had a chance to win the debate over extending the tax cuts, but it seems pretty clear that they’ve now most assuredly lost it.