Sen. DeMint: ‘We’re trying to run out the clock’ on omnibus

Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday night that he still plans to force a floor reading of the 1,900-page omnibus spending bill. 

DeMint (R-S.C.) said that he would still seek a full reading of the $1.1 trillion bill after backing away from a similar threat to force a reading of the New START Treaty with Russia on the Senate floor. 

“If they bring this up, they’re going to read it. It’ll take them a day or two to read it,” the South Carolina conservative said on Fox News. “Again, we’re trying to run out the clock. They should not be able to pass this kind of legislation in a lame-duck Congress.”

DeMint said that if Democrats looked to proceed with their omnibus, he wouldn’t be scared off by holiday work — though he criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) earlier this year for threatening work through the Christmas holiday as “sacrilegious.”

“This bill cannot go through. I’m going to do everything I can — we’ll work through Christmas, through New Year’s — we’re going to do everything we can to stop this,” he said.

The senator’s threat to force a reading of the nuclear arms deal spurred a display of brinksmanship between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, with Reid threatening work through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in order to finish the chamber’s unfinished business. (“Get out of the way,” scolded Vice President Biden.)

DeMint backed off his threat to force a reading of the treaty after Reid guaranteed a day to debate the merits of the agreement. The Senate is set to begin debating it on Thursday, but it is unclear whether the 67 votes to ratify it are there. 

In the case of the omnibus, it must be approved by Saturday or the government will run out of money to continue its operations. The alternative would be a so-called “continuing resolution” that would maintain current spending levels in the foreseeable future. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced such a bill on Thursday; his measure would fund the government through Feb. 18.

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