Harry Hamburg/AP Photo
Republicans Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader, and Sen. Jon Kyl, the minority whip.
Senate Republicans have sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, warning him that they will use the chamber's procedural tactics to stall any legislation other than that which would extend the Bush tax cuts and deal with the nation's debt limit.
An excerpt from the letter that was signed by all 42 Republicans, meaning that Senate Democrats can essentially forget about peeling off the two Republicans they would need to end a Republican filibuster:
The nation’s unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said “we owe” it to the American people to “focus on those issues that affect their jobs.” He went on to say that Americans “want jobs to come back faster.” Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities.
For that reason, we write to inform you that 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. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. 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.