The games they play

As Pelosi weighs severance pay for GOP staffers, Republicans aim to stiff the incoming majority with work left over from 2006.

Published November 21, 2006 8:32PM (EST)

Nancy Pelosi is considering legislation that would provide severance pay to Republican House staffers who will find themselves out of work when their newly unelected bosses leave office at the end of this year. It's something the Republicans didn't do for Democratic staffers when the GOP took the House in 1994, but the Hill says it's a way for the speaker-to-be to show that she's serious about building better working relationships with the new minority party.

What are the Republicans doing in return? Well, it's not quid pro quo exactly, but the Associated Press says the Republican leadership plans to wrap up its lame-duck session earlier than planned next month, leaving "a big spring cleaning job" for the Democrats to handle.

One reason? The AP says that by leaving unfinished business for the Democrats to do in 2007, the GOP can limit the amount of time the new majority has to advance its own legislative agenda. But the gamesmanship isn't just interparty; it's intraparty as well. As the AP says, some conservative Republican senators are stalling action on spending bills until after the new year begins so that their colleagues can't break the budget even more than it has been broken with on-the-way-out-the-door pork.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Nancy Pelosi D-calif.