Politics

Reid challenges Republican pledge to withhold Senate votes until demands are met

Chris Moody Contributor
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This article has been updated.

Harry Reid is going to try and call what he thinks is a Republican bluff.

The Senate majority leader said Wednesday that he was going to blow off the threat from Senate Republicans to withhold support for any measure until the government is funded and the Bush-era tax rate extension is in place, and file for cloture on a host of bills anyway.

“For this entire Congress, we have been, as Muhammad Ali better said it than I, ‘rope a dope.’ They stall, they have excuses for not doing things,” Reid, a former boxer, said of Republicans. “Throwing up these artificial roadblocks is just foolishness. I mean, what in the world do they accomplish by saying, ‘we’re not going to allow you to do the START Treaty, the defense authorization bill until the tax bill is completed and the spending is done’?”

In short, Reid is refusing to abide by the terms set by Republicans and hold votes on a number of measures, even if it means they don’t get passed.

Reid added that he hopes to resolve the issue of whether to accept President Obama’s negotiated proposal to extend the Bush-era tax rates “in the next day or two,” but would not discuss details of closed door talks being held on the issue.

On Tuesday, Reid joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in blasting the plan for a provision that would set the estate tax at 35 percent for assets worth more than $5 million and said Wednesday that he still has the same concerns.

Reid has suggested that he intends to wrap up the lame-duck session by Dec. 17, but with so many issues to be addressed, he will be forced to rush if he wants to accomplish everything and get members of the chamber home by Christmas.

UPDATE: The Senate announced Wednesday evening there would be no votes scheduled until further notice. “We are continuing to negotiate an agreement,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley in an email to The Daily Caller. Given this turn of events, it is yet to be seen how Democrats will proceed.

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