Senate Circlejerk Delays Bills Until After the Election

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Senators cast their final votes at 1 a.m. today, finished work and left Washington and major decisions on tax and budget issues behind until after the November election.

Of course, they spent their final moments bitch-slapping each other over not getting more done, but at least they approved a six-month spending measure that keeps the government running after Sept. 30, sparing the nation a government shutdown before the election.

Mighty nice of them, huh?

The funding bill — which of course keeps federal workers getting their paychecks — was the only thing the senators managed to pass.

The Senators were up until the wee hours, even though they’d hoped to finish out the issues on Thursday — but they still didn’t finish up, leaving a lot behind. Here’s some of the results of their party vs. party fighting. Maybe you can decide what’s important since the people elected to take care of these matters couldn’t:

1. Cutting off foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya

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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was seeking a vote on an amendment to cut off the foreign aid. The countries in question are currently embroiled in protests over a certain little anti-Muslim film — but the senators couldn’t decide whether to cut them off cold turkey. And Paul claims that the U.S. is wasting money by trying to buy friends in those countries.

2. Put Off Votes to Help Candidates

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Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) pushed back votes on Thurday, claiming Republican Sen. Scott Brown would use the action to put off his scheduled debate with Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren in their Senate race.

Reid then clashed with Republicans over whether to vote on measures sponsored by a fellow Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester, of Montana, to improve federal land access for hunters. Ironically, the legislation could boost Tester’s chances for re-election against Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.

3. Long Lame Duck Session Coming

The politicians won’t be able to put off their vote forever. Not voting now means they’ll have to fight out the bills in lame-duck meetings after the November election. Because, as anyone who’s been fired knows, when you’ve lost your job you just want to tell the remaining people to take their jobs and shove them.

4. Fought Over Who Was to Blame
House Democrats accused the GOP of leaving town without finishing business. Over in the Senate, Republicans blamed the Democrats. While all this blame was flying around, nothing got done — and they all went home, much earlier in the year than usual.

5. Facing a “Fiscal Cliff”

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At the end of the year, when the elections are over and the lame ducks come quacking back to Washington, taxes will rise and deep cuts will take effect, all without congressional action. And let’s not forget the troubled postal service — and the House still hasn’t voted on a five-year farm bill already approved by the Senate.

That’s a lot to get accomplished. But let’s face it — after the election, there will be a lot that needs done, and in Washington, if it walks like a lame duck and quacks like one, then it’s probably a senator or representative.

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