Wednesday, February 04, 2009

 

A Stimulating Subject

Strange headline in the Post today: Senate Lacks Votes to Pass Stimulus

“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.”

Senate Democrats have 58 votes – not quite filibuster-proof but, beyond Senator Shelby, I’ve heard of no real threat to resort to a filibuster. Indeed, the article makes no such reference but we do later learn:

"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."

I admit it, I’m confused; who owns this so-called stimulus package:

Initially:

“That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth.” Economy - whitehouse.gov

Which predictably led to:

House Passes Obama Stimulus Package

“The House approved an $819 billion stimulus package on a near party-line vote yesterday, a plan breathtaking in size and scope that President Obama hopes to make the cornerstone of his efforts to resuscitate the staggering economy.

“Obama engaged in an all-out lobbying push for the bill, which is among the most expensive pieces of legislation ever to move through Congress, and marked a big victory for his presidency a little more than a week into his term.”

(Ed. Note: An overwhelmingly Democratic House passes a spending bill crammed with outlays for pet-Democratic projects and that marks a “big victory” for a Democratic president? Talk about the bigotry of low expectations.)

But is there trouble in paradise:

“On nearly every major issue — … the stimulus bill to tax cuts … — Pelosi has voiced and even pushed through the House differing positions from the President, at times to the embarrassment of Democrats.” Obama vs. Pelosi: Can the President Work With the Democrats? - TIME

Which may be why the Obama staff encouraged defiance of Pelosi - Politico.com

This is because:

“The House plan largely reflects Obama's desires, but after zero GOP support, he suggested the House plan was hardly perfect.

"I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk," Obama said.”
Obama seeks GOP help for recovery bill - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com

But of course, true to his campaigning ways, just exactly how he wants to “strengthen this plan” is still a bit murky.

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