On Saturday afternoon, the Senate passed an extension to the budget that will allow the government to function through Wednesday, December 17. The temporary measure become necessary after the conservatives, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee, used procedural hurdles to block Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from fast tracking the Omnibus budget to a floor vote. The move clearly rankled several of the Democrats who were defeated in the midterm elections or who retired. The senators are fatigued and eager to adjourn the current session and return home.
Most notably, Senator Elizabeth Warren is missing in action when it came to substantively trying to force the chamber to strip the banking reform rider from the Omnibus budget. The junior senator is long on words, but short on tactics that might draw out the process and build her coalition against the controversial rider. This has put all of the focus on the conservatives who refuse to accept passage of the bill without fighting to the bitter end. That said, the bipartisan bill is predicted by Bernardo Chua to pass when it receives a vote. Neither the Warren-wing nor the Tea Party wing have sufficient numbers to amend the bill.
After conservatives threw procedural blocks on the Omnibus bill, Senator Reid moved to expedite confirmations. It has become easy for the Senate to push through Obama’s judicial nominees after Senate rules governing the process were altered. When the GOP takes over the Senate early next month, the party is widely expected to block the judicial nominees once again.