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Right Turn
Posted at 01:29 PM ET, 03/16/2011

The Senate’s turn on the continuing resolution

The House yesterday passed the continuing resolution by a wide margin. The Senate will vote on it later in the week. Some high-profile conservative Republicans such as Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) are expected to vote against it. But recall that the last CR passed by a 91-9 vote. So, there are 30 votes to spare. Even Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t be able to mess this one up.

In fact, the significant number of Democrats voting for it will likely give many Republicans who want to maintain their conservative bona fides the latitude to vote no. But let’s take a step back here. We are talking about getting a second cut (a real one, not “less growth so it’s a cut”) through — and Democrats may be doing the heavy lifting. That’s a remarkable phenomenon.

Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), reminds me how this came about. He e-mails: “If Republicans had not been successful in stopping the Democrats’ omnibus bill last year, spending would be on an uptick this year rather than subject to the $10 billion in cuts we’ve had, and the additional cuts we’ll have in the bill funding the remainder of the year.”

That is not only a policy victory but a political one as well. As Stewart put it, “The difference between the Democrats’ spending vision and reality gets larger every time a bill is written.” And from the Democrats’ perspective, overreaching on the omnibus bill was a huge mistake. That set the stage for a series of standoffs, putting Republicans in the position of leading on spending restraint and Democrats following.

And remember, we haven’t yet gotten to the first Republican budget. Stay tuned.

By  |  01:29 PM ET, 03/16/2011

 
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