Reid, Coburn Spar (on Paper)

Posted July 25, 2008 at 5:46pm

In what may be a sign of what is to come during a weekend session, the offices of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) are engaging in a press release war over the cost of bills that Coburn is blocking. Coburn’s office sent out the first release Friday morning, citing an editorial critique in Reid’s home-state newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that criticized the Majority Leader for his efforts in packaging together numerous bills that Coburn has objected to and total $11 billion. Not to be outdone, Reid’s office then sent out a statement arguing that the bill only authorizes money and does not actually appropriate any federal funding for the programs in what has come to be known as the “Coburn omnibus.” “The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed what we’ve known all along: simply authorizing a future appropriation doe not trigger any new spending and does not increase the deficit by a penny,” the release stated. The exchange occurred one more time, when Coburn’s office shot back a second statement arguing that there is not much difference between authorizing and appropriating. Reid’s office retorted by calling that accusation “bogus.” Reid and Coburn will likely get their chance to face off on Saturday when the Majority Leader is expected to file cloture to consider the package of bills, which contains measures to block child pornography and provides funding for chronic disease research transportation. But the Coburn bill won’t get a vote on passage until next week.