Reid to push ahead on ambitious lame-duck agenda

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday opened the next-to-last planned week of the lame-duck session with a vow to push ahead with an ambitious agenda. Reid's agenda includes: the expiring Bush tax cuts, the DREAM Act, a defense authorization measure that repeals “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the START arms control treaty.

Reid said the Senate would be in session the next “few weeks,” but on Saturday said he planned to adjourn the chamber on Dec. 17, a week before Christmas, adding that he hoped to avoid a repeat of last year’s Christmas Eve votes on healthcare reform.
 
“We have a long to-do list,” Reid said. “These are not leftovers, they’re critical to our economy, national security, to our families and to our country’s future. And we will resolve them before we adjourn. … It is time to roll up our sleeves, not dig in our heels.”
 
The Senate will first hold an impeachment vote on Tuesday on Thomas Porteous, a federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Porteous has been under federal investigation for corruption.
 
Next, Reid has scheduled procedural votes on Wednesday on healthcare provisions for 9/11 first responders, job protections for police officers and firefighters and the DREAM Act, which provides U.S. citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.
 
The last half of the week could see votes on the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush. The White House is negotiating with congressional leaders after two separate proposals to extend the cuts for middle-class families failed to pass the Senate on Saturday.
 
Reid also vowed to pursue passage of the START treaty and a defense authorization measure that includes the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. He accused the GOP of unfairly blocking the measure.
 
“Republicans know they don’t have the votes to take the repeal out of the defense authorization bill, so they’re holding up the whole bill,” Reid said. “When they refuse to debate, they also hold up a well-deserved raise for our troops, better healthcare for our troops and their families, and equipment.”
 
GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) gave no opposing remarks Monday afternoon.