Sen. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has long been known as an effective whip, and Thursday night he showed his prowess as he effectively stripped Democrats of the GOP votes needed to pass the $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill, killing the measure for good.
A visibly frustrated and angry Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, lashed out, saying that he had nine GOP senators supporting the measure, but that suddenly the support evaporated.
"This action taken by my friends on other side of aisle going to cause people to lose their job," Reid predicted.
"There's only one reason why cloture is not being filed...He doesn't have the votes.," McConnell chided, as he referred to the term for the process to shut down a filibuster. "And the reason he doesn't have the votes is because members on this side of the aisle increasingly felt concerned about the way we do business."
A McConnell aide said the leader "worked the phones" for days, pressing his members to quash the bill which contains $8 billion in earmarks (1% of the overall bill), several that belonged to the leader, himself, before he agreed to a pork moratorium.
Tempers flared in the chamber quickly, as Republicans gloated.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, crusader against pork, tweeted all day Wednesday and Thursday with earmarks he found in the bill, from money for disease-resistant wine grapes to a ceramics museum in Biloxi, Miss. And Thursday night, with a big grin, he praised GOP members for ditching the deal.
Two cheers for the Republicans for, actually, standing up for Republican principles. This bill needed to be tossed out and started anew. Hopefully, they will be able to do another one soon. Hold the pork, though.
They needed to do this to keep or regain the confidence of the people that elected them to turn things around. The GOP has been just as bad in this area over the last decade as the Democrats, which is why they got the boot in 2008. Luckily, the TEA Party was able to wake up the Grand Old Party this past year before were exiled into oblivion forever.
They are still are on probation with the voters. So, they need to keep working on being the fiscally responsible and cutting spending, if they ever want to get regain our trust for good.