Senate Republicans give ultimatum on tax cuts and spending bills

Senate Republicans are vowing to block all legislation Democrats try to bring to the floor until the chamber passes legislation to fund the government and extend expiring tax increases.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sent a letter to Reid, signed by the entire 42 member Republican conference, vowing to stand in the way of the rest of the Democratic agenda in the waning days of the lame duck congress, unless spending and tax cuts are addressed.

“With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities,” the letter to Reid states. “While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.”

Reid has not signaled when he plans to take up either the spending or tax cut bills, but he said on Tuesday he plans to bring a bill to the floor that would provide a path to citizenship for people who arrived illegally in the United States as children.

Democrats hit back hard after receiving the letter, pointing out that the GOP blocked a bill Tuesday that would have extended unemployment insurance benefits that have now expired.

Republicans say they want the bill paid with money from elsewhere in the federal budget.

“If Republicans  really cared about creating jobs they should stop blocking a preservations of unemployment insurance,  which would create or save hundred of thousands of jobs,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.  “Republicans have simply put in writing their political strategy which they have pursued over the last two years: obstruct and delay action on critical matters, and then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people.  This strategy is very cynical but very obvious and transparent.”

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