“It’s entirely up to the majority leader,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip, when asked about the prospects of the two sides cutting a deal and avoiding a Christmas week session. “If he wants to ruin everybody’s Christmas, he’s got the authority and the power to do that. I would hope he would restrain himself.”Then there's the guy Reid has to negotiate with to make anything happen on the Senate floor, the minority leader Mitch McConnell.
“I’d like to focus for a few minutes on the way the Senate is being run,” McConnell said at a news conference on Tuesday.For his part, Reid isn't taking the personal jabs too seriously: “I don’t enjoy it, but if that gives them some solace, let them do it. [...] It doesn’t bother me.” The attacks don't bother him, but the hijacking of the Senate is probably getting a little bit wearying.
“So as we end the year, it’s a tragedy the way the Senate is being run into the ground by basically one person. And I hope that one of the majority leader’s New Year’s resolutions is going to be to operate the Senate in a quite different manner.”
They need to pass the budget, which will happen Wednesday. They need to pass the defense authorization bill. And they need to work through at least four nominations that Reid has decided are key: "Alejandro Mayorkas as a deputy secretary at the Homeland Security Department, John Koskinen to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Brian Davis to serve on a Florida district court and Janet Yellen as the next Fed chair." That's leaving out Robert Wilkins, the final of President Obama's three nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Reid is apparently seeking a deal with McConnell to have votes, without procedural delays, on these four to leave town by Christmas. But he'll only cut that deal if McConnell agrees to allow unanimous consent to carry over all the other pending nominations to next year, and not force the president and Senate to start from scratch with them in January. Good luck with that.