Republicans Beat the Omnibus, Give More Power to Obama.

Last night, Republicans walked out of an agreement they had negotiated with Democrats in recent months, killing a spending bill that would have kept government functioning through the new year. Ostensibly, this is due to Republicans' new objections to earmarks, which mean that top Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran turned their back on a bill they had shaped with millions of dollars for their home states. Dave Weigel observes John McCain and newly elected Sen. Mark Kirk in a bout of gloating, and declares it a victory for them. Indeed, they got what they wanted. But they do realize that eliminating earmarks gives more power to the executive branch to target spending, right?

By liberal lights, that looks just fine. But McCain et al.'s enthusiastic celebration of more power for the technocrats without meaningfully reducing the deficit sure confuses me. Meanwhile, the other news is that the Senate is expected to vote on "don't ask, don't tell" and the New START Treaty come Saturday.

-- Tim Fernholz

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