Democrats know “that there are members of the Republican Party that will work to blow up this [appropriations] process,” said one Senate Democratic leadership aide. “And it’s going to be up to Sen. McConnell to decide whether he’s going to lead or kowtow to a handful of the members of his caucus.”
The Democratic aide added that Reid “will come to Sen. McConnell and the Republican leadership with a reasonable offer as to how to get through these bills.”
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Democrats like Reid who criticized Republicans last year for slow or no action on appropriations are coming to terms with what being in the majority really means.
“Complaining is easy. Governing is tough,” Stewart said. “They’re finding reality is tougher than campaign rhetoric.”
Stewart added that Democrats took more than 100 days — including having one bill vetoed — to complete this year’s supplemental Iraq War spending bill.
“If it took that long to do one bill, then how long is it going to take to do the 12 regular appropriations bills?” he asked.
Gavin said the goal still is to send 12 individual measures to the president before Oct. 1. So far, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed out eight bills and is poised to finish the final four by mid-month.
The House has passed out six of its bills that are ready for the Senate to take up.
Gavin said the Senate likely would take up the Homeland Security spending bill or military construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills first, but that the schedule has not yet been officially set.
While Reid has threatened to delay the August recess until Republicans allow him to send both the lobbying and ethics bill and a 9/11 commission recommendations bill to conference with the House, he has not yet made the same threat over appropriations.
“We’re not at that point,” said the Senate Democratic leadership aide.