Stimulus Passes With No Republican Support

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Democrats, Economy, Legislation, Republicans

The blame for this is on both sides.

The House Dems shouldn’t have put in provisions that were easily targeted as appearing to be non-stimulative and the Republicans are being the party of no.

But is this more dangerous for Dems or Repubs?

From WSJ:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has talked often about working toward a new bipartisanship in fractious Washington, and has met frequently with Republicans, hoping to win support.

The net result of all that outreach? Not a single Republican supported Mr. Obama’s economic recovery package on the House floor Wednesday night. It passed 244-188, with 11 Democrats joining the Republicans.

The solid Republican opposition, led by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio), raises questions about whether the new era of bipartisanship that Mr. Obama promised during the campaign is truly within reach, or if Washington remains stuck in its acrimonious ways. Most immediately, the vote may mean that Democrats have to make more compromises in the Senate version of the recovery package, which is scheduled for a vote next week.

In the Senate, a vote that falls short of 60 senators supporting a bill allows the opposition to filibuster, or block passage through indefinite debate. But some Republicans are signaling privately that they are reluctant to filibuster the stimulus package, and Senate Democrats appear to be reaching out more aggressively to address GOP concerns on the bill.

Answer? It’s much more dangerous for Repubs to stonewall.

Obama has very publicly set a bi-partisan tone and requested that House Dems take provisions like the mortgage crawdown, family planning dollars and resodding the national lawn out of the bill. They’ve even singled that they’ll take the AMT out when it hits the Senate. So a lot of concessions are being made by Dems, not Repubs.

Still, I understand why they’d do it politically (they think they don’t have anything left to lose?), but if this succeeds then Repubs will be seen as the folks who tried to stop the recovery.

And do know that this will bill will create jobs. Whether it puts us in a better position in the future will most likely be a point of debate, but the amount of spending we’re investing into infrastructure, health care, tax cuts and rebuilding our energy grid will pay dividends. It could also open up the idea of reigning in entitlement spending, which I’m sure Republicans could be all over.

Long story short, House Repubs aren’t seeing the big picture here and I’m guessing that Senate Repubs will save the GOPers from themselves.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009 and is filed under Barack, Democrats, Economy, Legislation, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “Stimulus Passes With No Republican Support”

  1. kranky kritter Says:

    Answer? It’s much more dangerous for Repubs to stonewall.

    Question: Does it matter whether the stimulus plan helps or not?

    If 2 years goes by and the democrats add a couple trillion to the deficit with stimulus plans the GOP opposed and then the economy has nothing to show for it, then whose $h!t stinks?

    I think the play-by-play on the cpngressional gamesmanship misses the point a bit. Like it or not, the big luxury of the minority party is to behave just as the GOP has currently done. Would they have opposed this bill unanimously if doing so would have jeopardized it passing the house? I kinda doubt it.

    There is not a whole lot the GOP can do to stand in the way of the democratic majority as Obama tries to enact whatever his agenda turns out to be. We’ll see a few more minor tweaks to the stimulus,. but it’ll pass sooner than later. Count on it. Look for 2 or 3 showy tweaks to appease a handful of GOP senators who probably already have been approached about playing ball. The GOP already knows that they don’t get to dictate the way this money gets spent, they lost that right when they lost their majority and then the Presidency.

    But this isn’t the one where we’ll see a battle royale. That’ll be when healthcare reform comes under the microscope. I think you can count on a single-payerish plan being passed in way that better suits the dems than the repubs. This reform will become urgent as all those extra unemployed folks run out of COBRA coverage.

    That one will be a real show. The smart republicans are already looking for roles at the table on this one, because the GOP unanimity will certainly collapse by then. Look for everyone on the GOP side who plans to run for the 2012 nom to oppose it no matter its form.

  2. mike mcEachran Says:

    I agree with Kranky’s main point: the Repubs “no” votes are political calculation pure and simple. Besides if the stimulus “works” Repubs can rely on their tried and true back-up plan – historical revisionism. I can just hear it, “The stimulus had nothing to do with our economic recovery. It was that did it. In fact, Obama’s plan probably slowed it down…” There is no down side for them politically to oppose it, according the political rules as they know them. The question they need to ask is – are those political rules still relevent, and will the American people buy it. Good luck with that.

  3. Snarkless J. Harden Says:

    Mike, I recently read a quip from one of my favorite blogs (www.ghostofaflea.com) that describes this “stimulus” package and its proponents perfectly:

    “In a world founded on unicorn farts, the sanctimonious have no need of books.”

    Indeed.

  4. Brian in GA Says:

    The party of no or the party of “whoa?”

    I know this may be a difficult concept for folks on the left side of the isle to accept but he fact is that there are lots of people in this country who have been disgusted with the performance of the Republican party over the last several years as they signed on another major entitlement program in Medicaid D, ran the deficits up with no concern of how to pay it back, and implemented many other policies that were decidedly not conservative in nature.

    Now here is the part where you really have to pay attention to keep up guys…..we spoke out! We voted against them, we called, we wrote, we failed to support their campaigns and otherwise expressed out displeasure at their drift to the left in governing. Many of those who were still standing on the right heard us and “for the moment” have decided that perhaps they need to get back on the wagon that brung um!

    So all I am saying is government of the people and by the people means that sometimes you have to speak out and make your voices heard. We are doing that and you see the consequences. The great thing about our system is that is it supposed to be a 3 ring circus with no one arena having more power than the other. In the Congressional arena, we have several acts performing all at once and it can be frustrating but it sure beats the heck out of fascism or dictatorships huh?

    We have seen what happens when Congress fails to put the the brakes on the Executive branch and vice versa. I for one am glad there is a party of “whoa” in Congress at this time.

    I mean, why should we make my grandchildren pay for more of today’s government funded abortions under the guise of stimulating the economy? Serioulsy? Sure, you may respond that provsion was pulled out and my response is that it was pulled out because of the objections of the party of “whoa.”

  5. Brian in GA Says:

    oops, medicare part D, not medicaid.

  6. DK Says:

    Brian is right. Between GWB and the perception that Republicans were spend-happy during the GWB years, the Republican party has really alienated much of its base. That base hasn’t turned left, they just no longer feel the Republican party is sufficiently conservative. Opposing the bailouts (which most conservatives are opposed to) allows the Republicans to play nice to their base, where they sorely need to show they care. But I totally agree that the Republicans are only shoring up their base because the bill is sure to pass anyway; they can LOOK like they really care about what conservatives want even if they truly do not.

  7. ExiledIndependent Says:

    There is going to be a pretty significant “I told you so” moment in the 2010 elections when the “stimulus” plan doesn’t move the needle.

    And in a way, this looks bad for Obama. It’s clear that while he’s reaching across the aisle, his counterparts in Congress certainly aren’t–he doesn’t seem to have much influence on them, otherwise they would have included GOP contributors at the beginning of the process. Either that, or “bipartisanship” is just another pretty word.

  8. Mark-NC Says:

    Ah yes, no matter what happens it’s bad for Obama and good for the Republicans.

    I have a different view. Obama did what he said he would. He listened and had the bill changed is several significant ways that the Republicans wanted – something Bush NEVER did. In return, the Republicans spit in his face.

    The result – House Republicans are now irrevelent. Their opinion is worthless, and compromising with them is a fools game.

    Obama played well, and now he knows that he needs 3-4 Republican votes in the Senate (to prevent the universal Republican fillibuster) – he needs nothing else.

    The country will see – and know – that the ones taking chances to try to make things better are the Obama led Dems and not the obstruction minded Republicans.

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    Mark NC: I’ll give Obama credit for taking the approach he did. But I think you are way off with your “one and done” take. Obama will have to patiently and repeatedly take this approach for it to bear any fruit. And he will have to expect the harvest to be small and irregular. Politics didn’t go away because Obama was elected.

    I expect some members of the GOP to do things that they feel are good for the country even at the expense of the party line. But not often, and not right away. And I respect that there are genuine philosophical differences. This means that Republicans view many of the actions the GOP takes as actually good for the country. Imagine that! I’m Kranky, and I’m skeptical, but I’m not a cynic. The partisn gap in our national politics is as much about means as it is about ends, and no one ought to overlook that,

    The country will see – and know – that the ones taking chances to try to make things better are the Obama led Dems and not the obstruction minded Republicans.

    That’s the real laugher. The dems are playing at least as much politics with this as the GOP. People paying attention to actual content know that this bill includes too many pet dem projects that are unlikely to provide anything resembling economic stimulus. It’s sad to see such an important and painfully expensive action like this bill come to comprise little more than the fulfillment of pent-up democratic desire for local pork delivery. If and when this bill fails to achieve much in the way of tangible positive effect upon current economic trends, remember that point.

  10. mike mcEachran Says:

    @ Kranky: “Obama will have to patiently and repeatedly take this approach for it to bear any fruit. And he will have to expect the harvest to be small and irregular. Politics didn’t go away because Obama was elected.”

    I will add that Obama understands that this is politics better than anyone, and he’s willing to continue to “rise above it”, be patient, keep showing up, keep negotiating, and do whatever is necessary to get’er’done, even if the opposition is engaging in a dumb-show. That’s what we love about Obama – he seems to hold our interests first. By being patient and consistent, Obama illuminates all the calculated behavior that the congress people are engaging in. “The light of day is the best disinfectant”. Amen.

  11. ExiledIndependent Says:

    @Mike: hope you’re right; my biggest concern isn’t Obama, it’s the Congressional dems. It doesn’t matter much what BHO does if Pelosi, Reid, et. al. don’t adopt a similar approach. In fact, it shows a President who isn’t exerting much influence over his own party.

    Will Obama veto this if it gets to him as pork-laden as it is now?

  12. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    “Imagine that. The most expensive social experiment in American history – one that will cost taxpayers more than both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined – was allotted less than a single day of debate in Congress.

    How many speed-reading whiz-kid representatives do you think slogged past their own pork to read the entire 647 (or so) pages of the “stimulus” menu?”

    - David Harsanyi

  13. mike mcEachran Says:

    @ Exiled – Agreed!

  14. mattw Says:

    @Jimmy the Dhimmi :

    “A recent study by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimated the total cost of the Iraq war at $687 billion and put Afghanistan war spending at $184 billion”

    That is significantly more than the stimulus ($787 B, by my count), and we will actually have somethign to show for it.

    Oh, it also probably won’t kill hundreds of thousands of people and cause torture.

    It’s fine that you’re all snarky and cynical, but it really doesn’t work as well when you’re factually in the wrong.

  15. mattw Says:

    Oh, and my numbers only account for what has ALREADY been spent, not what they will continue to cost. We wan’t get out of Iraq for nearly two more years from what I hear…

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