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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Harry Reid's Really Big Bargaining Chip

Harry Reid lowered the boom yesterday, rolling out a $1.1 trillion, 1,924-page Omnibus Budget bill, which was sure to infuriate Republicans in the Senate.

To roll out such a provocative bill at a time when Reid has an extraordinarily tight calendar on a variety of social and other agenda items would not seem to make sense.  Reid needs some Republican cooperation to get votes, even if Reid keeps the Senate in session after Christmas.

So why blow everything up now?  I don't pretend to understand the Reid mind, but here's my best guess.

The Omnibus Bill is Reid's bargaining chip.  Reid will agree to pull the bill and submit to a continuing budget resolution to fund government for a couple more months, in exchange for Republican cooperation in getting votes on New START, DADT, judicial nominations, and other non-budgetary legislation.

Republicans should not accede to this tactic under any circumstance.  Call Reid's bluff.  Force Democrats to pass the Omnibus Bill if they can muster the votes, and Obama to sign that monstrosity. 

Passage and signing of the Omnibus Bill would ignite Republicans and Independents like nothing since Obamacare, a festering wound that would carry over into 2012.

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  1. If there is anything to learn from this, its that there are NO limits to the arrogance and hubris of elites.

    Get the pitchforks out. Its time we stop the fleecing. All hands on deck.

  2. Harry Reid has a political death wish. This is not hubris: it is insanity. Senate is spelled
    S-E-N-A-T-E. It has a one letter difference from the course of action Republicans should use on Mr Reid: S-E-D-A-T-E.

    Show him to the rubber room. He has jumped the shark.

  3. We have a PDF of the whole thing posted now on Common Cents...

  4. This is a very shrewd political maneuver by Reid. There are a lot of establishment Republicans worried about primary challenges from the right. These 'centrist' Republicans will go along with this 'grand compromise' that will let them avoid taking votes that expose their ideological opposition to small government principles until late in the 2012 primary season. Insulating themselves from accountability is THE unifying principle for ruling class incumbents.

  5. Thanks for the article! Found it via link posted in the commments and discussion section at


  6. Republicans have no balls. They are not likely to call Reid's bluff. I don't even expect De Mint to stand up under fire.