Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Republicans Thursday for not supporting his 1,924-page $1.2 trillion catch-all spending bill, claiming the bill's failure will "cause people to lose their job." In exchange, Reid said he would work with Republican leaders on a smaller, short-term budget fix to avoid a government shutdown.
According to Reid, at least nine GOP senators had pledged support for the measure, but suddenly balked under the controversial pressure of growing earmarks. Instead, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell proposed a resolution that would extend government funding for the next two months, allowing the new Republican House majority and bolstered GOP presence in the Senate to take up the measure in February. Reid pledged to work with McConnell to finalize such a measure.
The AP reports:
"Just a few weeks after the voters told us they don't want us rushing major pieces of complicated, costly, far-reaching legislation through Congress, we get this," McConnell said. "This is no way to legislate." ...
The catchall bill wrapped together 12 bills into a single foot-tall piece of legislation that Democrats had hoped to pass with just a couple of days' worth of debate.
It was designed to bankroll the operations of every Cabinet agency for the budget year that started Oct. 1, funding the almost one-third of the federal budget that Congress has to pass each year.
The House and Senate typically spend months on the 12 annual spending bills, but Democrats didn't bring even a single one to the Senate floor this year, an unprecedented collapse of an appropriations process.
The bill's failure also represents a significant setback for the Obama administration who recently reiterated its support for the measure, despite its provisions to block funding for the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.