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GOP to block all bills until tax cuts are addressed

From NBC’s Ken Strickland and Kelly O'Donnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this morning that Republicans will block any legislation from coming to the Senate floor until two key economic issues are addressed: funding the government (the “continuing resolution” which must pass to prevent a government shutdown) and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

McConnell said that members of his caucus are united in the pledge to use procedural votes to prevent any other non-economic issues -- including the new START treaty, the DREAM Act, or the defense authorization bill that contains a potential repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy – from coming to the floor for debate.

"Republicans have pleaded with Democrats to put aside their wish-list - to focus on the things Americans want us to focus on," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "They've ignored us. The voters repudiated their agenda at the polls. They've ignored them."

In a letter signed by all 42 members of the GOP caucus, Republicans write that, "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,” the letter reads.

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, before McConnell made his remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed the GOP tactic as "very cynical, but very obvious and very transparent."

"With this letter, they have simply put in writing a political strategy Republicans have pursued this entire Congress," he said. "Namely: obstruct, delay; obstruct delay."

Msnbc.com's Carrie Dann contributed.