Durbin Acknowledges Likelihood of Omnibus, Warns of Weekend Session

Posted November 3, 2009 at 3:04pm

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged Tuesday that several spending bills are likely to end up in an omnibus appropriations measure if Congress wants to pass its fiscal 2010 spending bills before the end of the year.He also said the Senate could be in session this weekend if Republicans try to delay some of the spending measures that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is trying to complete this week.Asked whether an omnibus appeared inevitable, Durbin said, “Just count the days.— He noted that the Financial Services appropriations measure, which he directs as chairman of that Appropriations subcommittee, has not yet been on the floor, and that it often attracts a lot of amendments because it includes federal funding for the District of Columbia.“Everyone gets to be mayor for a day,— Durbin noted of that often time-consuming bill.Still, he said, “Our job is to get [appropriations] done this year.—The Senate has passed only seven of the 12 appropriations bills, which were due to be enacted by the beginning of the fiscal year, Oct. 1. President Barack Obama has only signed five bills into law, and the Congress has had to pass two stopgap spending measures, or continuing resolutions, to keep the rest of the government funded. The current CR expires Dec. 18.To try to break what Democrats see as a logjam on appropriations, Durbin said Reid has warned Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the Senate will stay in session this weekend if Republicans delay consideration of the military construction and Veterans Affairs measure or the Commerce, Justice and science bill.“We spoke to Sen. McConnell. If he wants to drag this out and not give us these bills, we’ll be here through the weekend,— Durbin said.