Election? What election?
"The twelve bills included in this package fulfill the Congress' most basic responsibility, to exercise the power of the purse," he said in a statement. "This measure reflects a year's worth of work by members of both parties. Together, we have closely scrutinized the president's budget request, held hundreds of hearings, thousands of meetings, and asked literally tens of thousands of questions to each and every federal department and agency seeking justification for how taxpayer dollars are being spent."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, responded in a statement, saying that after neglecting to pass a budget, "today we learn Senate Democrats now want to sandwich them together, totaling almost 2,000 pages, and jam them through in the waning moments of this lame duck session before anyone can read them. This political end-around reveals just how quickly my colleagues across the aisle have already forgotten the voters' message in November."
What about those earmarks?
In total, thousands of earmark requests are listed. The financial services
earmark chart, for instance, lists 220 earmark requests from dozens of lawmakers, mostly in the House, each worth anywhere from $50,000 to $2.4 million. The largest sum was requested by Inouye and his Hawaii colleague Sen. Daniel Akaka for "Bank on USA" demonstration projects" in their state. The projects are designed to give underserved communities greater access to financial institutions.
Elsewhere, the Department of Defense earmark list, mostly requests by senators, is 29 pages long and individual requests more often are worth $2 million to $5 million each. In that list, Inouye's requests total more than $159 million, including $21 million for a Hawaii Federal Health Care Network. Cornyn's defense spending earmarks total nearly $16 million.
The list was released after a Republican policy lunch that a source said was devolving into pandemonium.
"All hell is breaking loose," the source told Fox News, noting that Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina were expected to insist the omnibus bill be read in its entirety by the clerk on the Senate floor before a vote is held. They also were expected to seek debate on all earmarks and any amendments.
Wow. There is going to be some blood on the floor in the Senate.
Actually, Reid knows exactly what he's doing. He's flushing out the opposition, seeing how far they will go:
In some cases the spending bill not only rejects President Obama's proposed cuts, it actually boosts spending. For example, Mr. Obama earlier this year told Congress to cut funding for the health and welfare package targeting Mississippi's Delta region, which in 2010 received about $26 million. But the Senate bill includes funding and actually increases it to nearly $35 million in 2011.
Senators also picked up the slack for their House colleagues, whose bill was devoid of pork-barrel earmarks, by including House lawmakers' requests in the Senate's own bill. Still, earmarks total less than 1 percent of the bill's spending.
Reid is threatening to keep the senate in session until after the 1st of the year in order to get everything passed. And don't you just love our brave House members who slipped their senate colleagues earmark requests thinking no one would notice? What a bunch of dishonest rats.
I think Harry knows his audience, though. Precious few will stand in the way as business as usual continues on the Hill.