All 42 Republican senators have agreed to block any legislation from reaching the Senate floor until President Barack Obama and Congress figure out a way to extend a series of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and pass legislation to fund the government into next year.
The GOP senators made their stand in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). Their declaration comes a day after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders in the House emerged from a White House meeting with Mr. Obama and their Democratic counterparts promising to work together.
“We will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers,” the senators wrote, according to a copy distributed by Mr. McConnell’s office. “With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”
This could complicate efforts to resolve a stalled nuclear-arms treaty with Russia, military authorization bill that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or legislation granting children who come to the U.S. illegally, provided they finish college or serve in the military.
“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,” the senators wrote. “Given our struggling economy, preventing the tax increase and providing economic certainty should be our top priority.”