Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Senate begins stripping the Pork-A-Palooza

HT to Gabriel at AoSHQ for this one. It seems that Democrats are finally admitting they don't even have the votes to pass the Pork-A-Palooza out of the Senate. So what are they doing? The WaPo reports that both sides are getting together to cut a good chunk of this pitiful "stimulus" out:

Senate Democratic leaders conceded yesterday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill as currently written and said that to gain bipartisan support, they will seek to cut provisions that would not provide an immediate boost to the economy.

[Stop. This means the Democrats can't even keep their caucus together and they're seeking cover from the GOP. Instead of working with Reid I'd tell him to drop dead. Nope. Sorry. Not working with you Harry. You'll never strip out enough to end the pundit's criticism that this is, in fact, a crap sandwich.]

The legislation represents the first major test for President Obama and an expanded Democratic Congress, both of which have made economic recovery the cornerstone of their new political mandate. The stimulus package has now tripled from its post-election estimate of about $300 billion, and in recent days lawmakers in both parties have grown wary of the swelling cost.
Moderate Republicans are trying to trim the bill by as much as $200 billion, although Democrats working with those GOP senators have not agreed to a specific figure.


The Senate's first vote on a stimulus amendment, a failed effort yesterday to add more infrastructure spending to the package, signaled the change in course. For weeks, the measure has grown to meet a worsening economic crisis with the largest possible infusion of government cash. Despite warnings of dire consequences if Congress does not act boldly, Republicans have become resolute in their opposition to what they view as runaway and unnecessary spending in the legislation. And as the total in the Senate version climbs to $900 billion, unease also is stirring among moderate Democrats. ...


For now, the Senate bill remains a work in progress. "We're trying to find a way to reach 60" votes, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate's chief vote counter, told reporters. "A number of Democrats have said they want to see changes to the bill before they can vote for it."

Durbin predicted that "100 decisions" will be "made between now and when we deliver the bill to the president's desk."


To remove obstacles from the measure's path, Reid said numerous items could fall by the wayside. "The president, the Democratic leaders, the Republican leaders certainly have every intention of moving forward to getting everything out of the bill that causes heartburn to a significant number of senators," he told reporters yesterday.


What Senate leaders cannot predict is which provisions will stay in and which will fall out. It also remains unclear whether Democrats are willing to tamper with measures that are considered high priorities for Obama, but that tackle longer-term challenges such as health-care reform and alternative energy development, rather than providing the quick jolt of expanded unemployment and food-stamp benefits and individual tax relief.


The most ambitious effort to cut the bill is being led by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), moderates in their parties who share a dislike of the current version. Collins is scheduled to visit Obama at the White House this afternoon. "I'm going to go to him with a list" of suggested deletions, she said.


Nelson said he and Collins have agreed to "tens of billions" in cuts, although he said he is skeptical that the effort will reach Collins's target of $200 billion in reductions. The pair has counted up to 20 allies in their effort, with more Democrats than Republicans at this point.


Among the items that the Collins-Nelson initiative is targeting: $1.1 billion for comparative medical research, $350 million for Agriculture Department computers, $75 million to discourage smoking, $20 million in Interior Department funding, $400 million for HIV screening and $650 million for wildlife management.

We can start with ditching the ACORN payoff in the bill. There's also a list of amendments that Senator Tom Coburn distributed that could go because they do nothing -- nada, zip, zero -- to stimulate a damn thing having to do with the economy.

I would also recommend to the Senate GOP that even if, say, $200 billion is dropped from the bill that they should still oppose it. It lacks the tax cuts that will spur on the economy. And it's pretty apparent that the Democrats have no intention of inserting them in the bill. Additionally, even if the bill is stripped of a good deal of this pork, the house and Senate will have to negotiate a settlement bill, approved by both Houses. The GOP has a perfect chance to show the bullies on the block that they're not going to cave in.

Granny Rictus, AKA Nancy Pelosi, and her cronies in the House put this thing together with no input from Republicans or Blue Dogs. She wanted to force an explosive expansion of the federal government for America. For her and her minions, it's all about power and control, and if this thing passes that's exactly what they'll get. We'll get the shaft.

(202) 224-3121 -- Call your senators and tell them to stand against this bill. The newest Rasmusson poll on the Pork-A-Palooza shows that it's losing support among Americans. That's because the secret is out. People see that this isn't going to help them at all. The only people who will benefit from this bill are the special interests that helped get Obama elected, and the power-brokers in DC.

Publius II

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a Nobel Prize in Economics? No? Well then, don't be surprised if I choose to believe Paul Krugman and NOT you.

Now let me be perfectly clear: Krugman contradicts you plainly, and unlike you, he knows what he is talking about. He knows that your accusation of 'pork' is a blatant lie, he knows that we need this stimulus and we need it NOW. He even knows that this $780 billion is really too low.

February 7, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

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