In an effort to get what he wants, Harry Reid has threatened to block the entire senate appropriations in the hope this will force them to negotiate raising some spending caps. This article suggests that if this strategy caused gridlock, the blame would like be placed at the door of the Republicans, as they control both houses of Congress (and if you consider coupling this with Congressional approval ratings of 11%, the benefits for the Democrats should be apparent).
“At a closed-door Democratic leadership meeting Tuesday night, Reid (D-Nev.) vowed that his caucus wouldn’t allow a single spending measure to get a floor vote, sources familiar with the meeting say.” This is once again a really useful example of the power of leadership in the Senate. Harry Reid was a force to be reckoned with as majority leader; traditionally minority leader is a much weaker position in a house which operates on unanimous consent. However Reid is certainly showing that while his may now be in the minority, he is not prepared for the Democrats in the Senate to be sidelined.
Obama had already threatened a veto on such appropriations bills but at this rate he won’t even see them! This could also therefore be a useful example of checks and balances/gridlock or the weaknesses of the US Constitution, especially as the House of Representatives are getting involved too: “House Democrats under Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi… promised at Tuesday night’s meeting that Democrats would continue to oppose House appropriations bills in large swaths to ensure Republicans cannot claim they have a veto-proof majority.”