The U.S. Senate might very well repeal the reprehensible Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and pass the DREAM Act before the lame duck session officially ends on January 5. But massive spending cuts are likely on the way early next year, thanks to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and his colleagues in the Republican caucus.
Last night in Washington, Republicans effectively killed a $1.1 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill that had been negotiated for close to a year. Several GOP senators, including Kirk, expressed a willingness to filibuster the legislation because it contained earmarks (requested by both parties), even if it meant shutting down government operations entirely. Aware that he didn't have enough support to win a cloture vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled the bill. Now, according to TPM, Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are negotiating a short-term spending resolution that will give the GOP-lead House a chance in February to set spending levels for 2011. Expect them to be far lower than they are currently.
On the Senate floor last night, Kirk and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gloated about their victory. "So for economic conservatives," Kirk cackled rhetorically, "a 1,924-page bill just died?" "A 1,924-page bill just died," McCain responded laughing. Illinois' junior senator talked about the deal on WLS' Don Wade and Roma this morning. Listen (full clip is here):
Let's be clear about what this development will mean in practice. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the incoming House Budget chairman. His "Roadmap for America’s Future," if implemented in full, would actually increase the deficit by 2020 to the tune of $1.3 trillion by slashing taxes on the rich. Domestic priorities like education and benefits for the poor and middle-class won't be protected, either. This is not a win for fiscal conservatives. It's a win for the wealthy.