Jim DeMint caves on bill-reading stunt

The Senate won't have to spend 12 hours listening to the START treaty, but spending bill fight hasn't even begun

Topics: U.S. Senate, War Room, Harry Reid, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Republican Party,

Jim DeMint caves on bill-reading stuntMitch McConnell and Jim DeMint

As we all know, Republicans were only delaying and obstructing action in the Senate to force a vote on the Bush tax cuts, in order to restore confidence to our nation’s job-creating billionaires. Once the Senate approved the tax cut deal, Republicans immediately … threatened to bring all Senate activity to a halt, for days, while also demanding that they not have to go to work on or after Christmas.

Sen. Jim DeMint wanted to do that thing where one senator can demand that bills be read aloud in their entirety. DeMint was going to give the New START treaty and the omnibus spending bill the bedtime story treatment, until, apparently, Mitch McConnell made him back down. (But not before Harry Reid’s press secretary got in this awesome zing. Hey, Harry Reid’s press secretary, you wouldn’t have to just impotently insult Jim DeMint’s obstructionism on Twitter if your boss hadn’t spent his tenure as majority leader enabling the obstruction by refusing to change archaic Senate rules allowing endless obstructionism!)

At least, McConnell and Jon Kyl are saying that the START treaty won’t be read aloud. The spending bill threat might still be operative. The omnibus bill would take about 40-60 hours to read, according to The Hill. And DeMint openly admitted that he just wants it read in order to prevent the Senate from doing anything else during a lame duck session.

(Not that the Senate needs help taking forever to do anything. After adopting a motion to proceed on New START, Reid said the rest of today will be devoted to debate, and they’ll actually have the for real vote tomorrow.)

DeMint and Kyl are also the primary authors of my favorite new political argument of 2010: That holding votes near Christmas is insulting to the Baby Jesus. It’s “sacrilegious,” according to DeMint, to vote on things right before Christmas. Kyl made the interesting point that it’s insulting to Christians to go to work between Christmas and New Year’s, a week during which most of the remaining Americans with full-time jobs are indeed expected to make an appearance at the office.

Of course, Republican delaying tactics merely ensure that the Senate will remain in session near Christmas, but I think that’s a feature, not a bug.

Meanwhile McConnell and Kyl and John Cornyn cannot bring themselves to support the omnibus spending bill, because it contains too many earmarks, including the earmarks that they themselves requested.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>