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.