Reid waves the white flag on omnibus, GOP will set spending for fiscal 2011

Democrats' $1.1 trillion omnibus is officially dead after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled it from the calendar and raised the white flag of surrender.

We seemed headed toward a showdown in which Democrats would have tried to fund the government through September, one way or another. Instead, Reid has signaled that he will agree to a two-month continuing resolution, which will give the new GOP House its first crack at spending cuts.

Reid pulled the spending bill from the Senate floor after Republicans signaled that they would not support the legislation, despite some of the earmarked projects contained within the bill that different GOP senators had requested.

The top Senate Democrat said instead that he'd look to move a continuing resolution, which would keep spending at current levels for the next two months, and effectively punt on the spending issue until next year, when new Republicans are sworn into Congress.

This victory contains a lesson, and a challenge. The lesson is that Senate Republicans won because they refused to be bought off with pork projects — even the most notorious GOP porkers came out in opposition, despite the fact that their previously requested earmarks were contained within the bill.

The challenge comes in the form of an early shot at appropriations for the new Congress. The Republican House promised to cut spending, and now they will have an extra fiscal year in which to cut it. It will be a real challenge, a test of both the leadership and the rank-and-file. Are they ready to make the tough choices they promised to make?

Beltway ConfidentialHarry Reidlame duckUS

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