Senate Republicans promised via a letter Wednesday to block legislative action on every issue being considered by the lame-duck Congress until the dispute over extending the Bush-era tax cuts is resolved and an extension of current government funding is approved.
"While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike," all 42 GOP senators wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The 42 signatures are more than enough to block action on almost any item he wishes to advance.
"With little time left in this congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike," the letter said.
The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted by former President George W. Bush are ready to expire after December 31 if Congress fails to reach an agreement on their extension. Top Democrats and Republicans disharmonize greatly over whether the current tax rates should be extended just for families earning $250,000 or under per year or for everyone regardless of income.
Republicans contend that a failure to extend all of the tax cuts would hamper an already-sluggish economy. President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders argue that the roughly $700 billion price tag attached to an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would be fiscally irresponsible.
In what could be construed as a stalemate House Democrats announced their intention to move forward with a vote Thursday to permanently extend the breaks only for families earning $250,000 or less.
Democrats are feverishly trying to pass several pieces of legislation before a more Republican Congress takes over in January, a repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, and the so-called DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants.
The threat does not apply to a new arms control treaty with Russia that is pending, since it would be debated under rules that differ from those that apply to routine legislation. President Barack Obama has made ratification of the pact a top priority. Most Republicans vehemently oppose the Dream Act, saying it amounts to amnesty. And they decry the strategy of acting on such issues during the lame-duck session, accusing Democrats of playing politics and ignoring the message voters sent Nov. 2. Well yes the voters did speak, and the Mexican vote was heard loud and clear, no to Sharon "I hate Mexicans" Angle, and yes to Harry Reid.
The caveat to the Republicans parlaying a vote on the New Start Treaty, is that every living DOD Director and Secretary of State dating back to the Reagan era supports the treaty (Rep and Dem) and their message is, "do it now". Colin Powell and other Secretary of States will release a op-ed tomorrow in the Washington Post regarding their support for the treaty.
Harry Reid blasted the GOP letter on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, calling it part of a "cynical" and transparent" Republican strategy to "obstruct" and "delay" legislative progress while blaming the Democrats for failing to effectively govern.
"Last month, the American people issued their verdict on the Democrat's priorities," replied Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. "We need to show the American people that we care more about them and their ability to pay their bills than we do about the special interests' legislative Christmas-list."
Since the slaughtering last month at the polls, Republicans have been very vocal that they would "halt" government work until January when they then can control the house majority. Isn't this just like the party of know nothings. The bully brigade (McConnell and Boehner) will stop at nothing to ensure that the rich continue to get richer, come hell or high water, even if it means stymie the country to do so. The theme of "lets line the pockets" of the elite two percent of America is never more resounding than today.
Republicans are ready to "hold America" hostage to get it's way. Who wins when tea bags shut down the government? Why do those whom occupy space right of center feel that this gridlock is the best coarse for the betterment of our country? How does passing this tax bill for the rich help the poor pay for Christmas?
Republicans have been holding up our Government for over four years, so why should we be shocked that they are double fisting their filibuster stamp today? Since January 2007 Republicans have trumped everything with this stamp. Republicans would filibuster their own mothers usage of dental floss if it came up on the floor.
The last nine congresses had an average of 56 filibuster per period. (100th to 109th congress). The latest congress (110th) filibustered 112 items. Twice the normal or nominal filibuster activity. The republicans will risk everything to get this tax cut for their millionaire cronies, your National Security, your unemployment, your home mortgage, your healthcare, nothing is off limits for the axis of idiots.
The "NO" parties existance has never been stronger than today. NFTOS says to the Democratic leaders, call their bluff, put the vote to the floor tomorrow, let the Republicans show their true colors, lets show America what truly matters too the republican party, make them put their money where their mouth is.
Last November all we heard was "We the people", make the republicans prove to us that "they hold these truths to be self-evident."
Play our way, or we take our ball and go home........