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The Senate and the stimulus package
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, February 07, 2008

As if to emphasize the point of Jon's post below, the Senate fight over the stimulus package has been interesting:
By a single vote, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an expansive fiscal stimulus package championed by Democrats, as partisan rancor engulfed the effort to inject a quick burst of spending into the slowing economy.

The package needed 60 votes under Senate rules to move forward but failed 58 to 41, with 8 Republicans joining 48 Democrats and 2 independents in support of it. The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, switched his vote to no from yes at the last second, a parliamentary move that lets him control the next steps on the bill.

The political brinkmanship in the Senate stood in marked contrast to the House, where Republicans and Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi took just a week to reach a deal on an economic stimulus package with President Bush, and just four more days to pass the bill.
Interesting, but instructive. Here we have the House acting to move quickly on legislation and the Senate is the volatile and deeply partisan side of the legislature. As I recall it is supposed to be the the "saucer" in which we "pour legislation to cool it". Instead, exactly the opposite has happened, further delaying what both parties claim is a critical bill in need of being passed rapidly.
The measure was opposed by Republican leaders who said the Democrats added too many costly provisions, including an extension of unemployment benefits, tax credits for the coal industry and increased subsidies for home energy costs.

The total cost of the Senate plan came to about $204 billion over two years, or about $40 billion more than the House version.
The parliamentary tricks have been interesting as well. Harry Reid, as noted, changed his vote so he would have a say in how the bill proceeds. He and his staff have apparently working the phones trying to nail down one more Republican vote. Meanwhile Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has drawn the line on acceptable additions with a comment about the Senate Democrats thrown in to keep the spirit of bipartisanship alive in the Senate [/sarcasm]:
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, had called for the Senate simply to adopt the House package with two changes: payments for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans, and a stipulation that illegal immigrant workers not receive payments. Mr. McConnell renewed that demand on the Senate floor just before the vote and chided the Democrats.

Praising House Democrats and Republicans for their stimulus deal, Mr. McConnell said, “Then, in an apparent jolt of nostalgia for last year, Senate Democrats decided to co-opt a bipartisan proposal produced by the House to put together a carefully crafted political document.”
Next move? Harry Reid.

As for the presidential candidates (btw, it is shaping up as if a Senator will become the next president, despite cw that says they always lose out to candidates with executive experience), McCain was there but didn't vote, and, of course Clinton and Obama voted for the Democratic version.

Said McCain of his non-vote:
Aides to Mr. McCain said that he would have sided with the Republican leaders and that his vote was not needed.
I'm not a fan of "stimulus packages" in general, and especially those funded on debt or printing money. But it appears our politicians are bound and determined to pass one. The larger point, as mentioned at first, is the power of the minority party to put a brake on the excesses of the majority party, especially if it is in charge of both the executive and legislative branches. For Republicans, the Senate may be the only center of power they end up enjoying, and, if they remain as effective as they have in this last Congress, may be enough to frustrate the Dems ability to go forward with their agenda should they win the White House in November.
 
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Aides to Mr. McCain said that he would have sided with the Republican leaders and that his vote was not needed.
"And didn’t want a voting record to tie him to a decision to not give "free money" to people who made retarded decisions."

You would have sided with republicans, SenatorMcCain?

Prove. It.

I treat every word out of your mouth as a lie until you prove me wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
And just stiffle it, Erb. I don’t want to hear about the stiffy McCain gives you. You wanna give him a hand job, that’s fine - just don’t expect me to beg for a similar chance.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Keep talking about Presumptive Nominee McCain that way Scott. All the way ’til election day when you open your hand and think of England.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
If you think I’ll vote for McCain under any set of events, you’re sadly mistaken...

I would sooner vote for Ron Paul.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I’m not bluffing about not voting for McCain. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 and certainly didn’t vote for Gore. I only voted for him in 2004 because of Iraq.

When something can’t be reformed, it needs to be replaced. The Republican Party has convinced me it falls in that category. McCain is just a reminder.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I’m not bluffing about not voting for McCain. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 and certainly didn’t vote for Gore. I only voted for him in 2004 because of Iraq. When something can’t be reformed, it needs to be replaced. The Republican Party has convinced me it falls in that category. McCain is just a reminder.
And then there is the likes of Retief, pulling the Democrat handle just like the automaton he/she is.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Looking at the economics behind the stimulus package and I just can’t support it. Going into debt further makes the structural problems worse, while cutting spending to pay for the stimulus undermines the stimulus. In this case, I side with the Republicans. (And gee, Scott J. goes on a tirade against me about McCain even in a thread where I didn’t talk about him...rough day, eh?)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and again, Comrade Proffesor...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The best thing we can do is nothing. This law is like paying your Visa with MasterCard. The economy will correct itself faster if we allow the free market do it rather than placing the problem in the the hands of politicians. If, however, we must provide stimulus, it should be done as quickly as possible.

1. Rather than building 300M little pork barrels and a bureaucracy to administer them, cut income tax by 1% and have the entire amount taken out of withholding in a single month, say March.

2. Eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit to pay for it. Someone who pays no income tax should not receive part of my refund.

3. Make people responsible for their own actions. If you took or gave a sub-prime mortgage, you have my sympathy. The taxpayer should not be expected to bail you out. (Same if you bought the wrong stock or a beach house or a place in New Orleans below sea level.)

Many Americans are adults. The government should treat them as such.
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
"Many Americans are adults."
By age only.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Scott Jacobs,
If you think I’ll vote for McCain under any set of events, you’re sadly mistaken...

I would sooner vote for Ron Paul.
You may get your chance. Run Ron Run. Run Ron Run.

SShiell,
And then there is the likes of Retief, pulling the Democrat handle just like the automaton he/she is.
I know you are but what am I?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
I think I have a solution to the impass over the stimulus bill. Why not just give every Senator and Congressman $100 million or so, in cash, to distribute themselves. I am sure they all know which of their constituents and/or supporters would best use the money to stimulate the economy, and I will bet that it will be distributed and in circulation much faster than any legislation could do it. You know that in their moistest, most private dreams, every one of those congress critters dreams of something like this, so it should pass handily. I’ll bet even McCain will support it.


I read a lovely comment the other day that an economic stimulus package was like taking a bucket of water out of the deep end of a pool and pouring it in the shallow end. It was a Walter Williams column, I think, and he attributed it to some economics professor whose name I have unfortunately forgotten.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"an economic stimulus package was like taking a bucket of water out of the deep end of a pool and pouring it in the shallow end."
I like to think of it as taking money out of my pocket and giving it to someone else. It’s much more direct and has the advantage of being true.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://

 
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