(Alex Wong – GETTY IMAGES)

The love has been lost.

Ending a post-election detente from heated rhetoric, Senate leaders shredded each other Tuesday in increasingly bitter terms over a Democratic proposal to dramatically overhaul the chamber’s long-standing rules for filibusters.

As The Post’s Paul Kane reports, the back-and-forth left the Senate in a partisan standoff that is ill-suited for the bipartisan talks expected over the next four weeks to reach a compromise that averts more than $500 billion in annual automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that are set to kick in after New Year’s Day.

For a second straight day Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened the chamber by engaging in a nearly hour-long feud over Reid’s emerging proposal to eliminate some filibusters. Reid accused the GOP leader of “abusing” the rules; McConnell accused the Democrat of “breaking the rules to change the rules”.

Tuesday’s debate ended with McConnell repeating his vow that a Democratic rewrite of the chamber rules planned for early next year, approved without any GOP votes, would prove toxic for the hoped-for compromise on the fiscal issues.

“This is exactly the wrong way to start off on a new year and end an old year with a ton of problems that we have to deal with,” he said during the debate. “So here we are as a result of this suggestion that we employ a nuclear option [arguing] about arcane rules changes when we ought to be sitting down together and trying to solve the nation’s huge, huge deficit and debt problems.”

Read Paul’s full story here.

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