Why Didn’t Republicans Run Out The Clock?

by Patrick Appel

Ezra Klein asks:

The question is why the Republicans didn't just drag their feet and let things expire and then come back to everything in 2011, when they'll have more allies in the Senate and control of the House? …

The answer, I think, is that there are plenty of Senate Republicans who aren't too comfortable with the class of conservatives who got elected in 2010. These legislators knew they had to stick with McConnell before the election, as you can't win back the majority by handing the president lots of legislative accomplishments. But now that the election was over, the bills that had piled up were, in many cases, good bills, and if they didn't pass now, it wasn't clear that they'd be able to pass later.