Republicans say no Senate business until tax cuts are extended and the government is funded — presumably on terms favorable to the GOP. That apparently includes the START treaty. And now the man leading the resistance to ratifying the treaty during the lame duck says Dems have until Monday to come to terms with Republicans on those two issues.
“If the taxes all can’t be resolved and voted on and completed and spending for the government for the next ten months completed by like next Monday, I don’t know how there’s enough time to complete START,” Kyl told The Hill.
Remember, Kyl isn’t just the driving force opposing START ratification. He’s also the Senate Republicans top tax cut negotiator in bipartisan discussions with the White House. Some suspected that his participation would lead to a compromise involving ratification, but that will only happen if Republicans say so.
Dems are clearly in a vise. They can’t move anything until those priorities are sorted out. And they won’t be sorted out quickly unless Dems basically cave. And if they don’t cave, then maybe they win a few concessions from the GOP on tax cuts, and appropriations, but the clock runs out on everything else: judges, DADT, DREAM, and, apparently, START.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.