Monday saw the US Senate approve the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts which President Obama had earlier negotiated/compromised with Republicans. With that out of the way, the entire tax bill will be put to a Senate vote possibly as early as Tuesday. However, the tax bill does not appear to contain Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s proposed online poker bill language. With the clock ticking on the lame duck session of Congress — and anti-gambling Republicans set to take over key House financial committees on January 5 — will Reid’s poker bill find a home in time?
According to MSNBC, leaders of both parties are saying that the lame duck session will likely extend beyond its scheduled Friday Dec. 17 cutoff. That would give Reid a little breathing room to engage in some more ear-bending, arm-twisting and pot-sweetening to try to garner sufficient support for his poker package.
If Reid can get enough Senators onside, there’s a strong suspicion that he’ll attempt to attach the poker bill to the omnibus spending bill, which must pass if the government wishes to keep its doors open. (The current ‘continuing resolution’ to keep the government lights on expires at 12:01am on Sunday Dec. 19.) The spending bill is something of a political driftnet, in that it tends to scoop up every Senator’s unrelated pet project as it drags along the Senate floor. It’s expected to come up for debate as early as Wednesday.
Reid seems determined to make good on what he owes his Nevada-based casino campaign contributors for helping him squeak out a victory against Republican challenger Sharron Angle in November’s mid-term elections. Politico’s Mike Allen appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program Monday morning, telling his hosts that Reid was “really pressing his foot on the gas for this.” Is there enough gas left in Reid’s tank to get his car across the finish line?
CalvinAyre.com will continue to bring you a daily progress report on this story right down to the finish line, with the occasional break for that Cole Turner fellow that you guys can’t seem to get enough of…