President Obama signed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) on Saturday in order to avert a government shutdown at midnight. The House and Senate passed the CR on Friday.
The CR will keep the government running until Tuesday, giving the Democrats three additional days to figure out how to fund the government.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-N.V.) was not said how he intends to proceed with the government spending process in the waning days of the 111th Congress.
On Thursday evening, Reid gave up on his 1,924 page, $1.1 trillion, year-long, earmark-filled Omnibus spending bill after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rallied Republicans against it. Reid’s Omnibus included $1 billion in increased funding for ObamaCare and 6,714 earmarks, which totalled $8.3 billion.
McConnell has offered a one-page CR, which would fund the government at current levels until February 18, when the new 112th Congress is in power.
“I think a more appropriate approach is to pass a sensible, short-term CR that gets us into next year, when the new Congress will have the opportunity to make a determination on how to best spend taxpayers’ money,” McConnell said.
“We need a Continuing Resolution to keep the lights on until the newly elected Senators and House members can come in January and February and begin to clean up the mess,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Vice-Chair of the Republican Conference, said this week.
Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) passed a CR last week, which funded the government with Democrat priorities until September 30. Reid, however, never tried to pass the House bill in the Senate.
The CR is necessary because — for the first time in modern history — the Democrat-controlled Congress did not pass a budget resolution nor any of the 12 Appropriations spending bills.
“The Democrats failed to pass a budget or pass a single appropriations bill this year,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Republican Policy Committee Chairman, said on Wednesday. “The Democrats failed at their responsibility.”
Instead of funding the government, Reid has the Senate in session on Saturday for debate on the DREAM Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) repeal, and the START Treaty.
The DREAM Act failed to get enough votes for cloture. However, DADT repeal did get cloture, so a vote on final will be Saturday afternoon. The repeal already passed in the House.
On Wednesday, McConnell railed on Reid’s misguided priorities by bringing up the START Treaty in the Senate before finishing government spending.
“The deadline for funding the basics of government was October, and here we are on December 15th proposing treaties,” said McConnell. “Keep the lights on. Everything else can wait.”
Apparently Harry Reid thinks DREAM, DADT and START are more important than the most basic job of Congress: keeping the government running.