The House and Senate have tentatively reached a deal on the Stim Package today but will it work or will it just be another big-money expenditure for which taxpayers must pay the bill?
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said that in order to reach the deal there was “a lot of give and take” but the final result shows that there was more giving to Republican obstructionists than anyone else.
This new version will cost taxpayers $789 billion, down from the $800-plus billion which the Senate approved earlier in the week.
Obviously absent from the announcement ceremony of this tentative plan was Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It might have been a scheduling conflict or it could be her way of expressing unhappiness with the final result.
Gone is much of the money for education and schools and in are Republican tax cuts which were inserted to maintain the three Republican Senate votes (and potentially garner more).
The purpose of this Stimulus Package was to originally emulate a “New Deal” program which would create immediate jobs: jobs rebuilding infrastructure like failing bridges and bad roads; modernizing our energy grid to become less dependent on oil; upgrading communication making high-speed internet available everywhere, and modernizing our schools so our kids have state-of-the-art science labs and computers. Programs like these would provide jobs across the country as well as inspire small business creation and innovation.
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine said that this deal is “right sized” and asserted that “every dollar is spent efficiently and effectively” but many of her colleagues in both the Senate and the House may not agree.
Democrats are feeling there isn’t enough to jump-start the economy and Republicans still feel that this bill is too much. As I write this, breaking news is that Senate Democrats are not happy with Majority Leader Harry Reid because they feel he jumped the gun by shaking hands in agreement with the Republicans.
Maybe they’re right…instead of rushing to pass a bill, any bill, like Congress did with the Wallstreet Bailout, perhaps Reid in the Senate should review what we’re really getting in order to cater to a few obstructionists in the Repulican party who threaten filibuster. Reid should call them on it because, if they do filibuster, they will have to explain to the American People their actions.
Instead of Reid trying to prevent a filibuster by working with the Republicans to get 60 Senate votes, Reid should instead say “go ahead and filibuster if that’s what you want to do.” In trying to maintain only three Republican votes, Reid is making those three votes extremely powerful.
Those three Republican Senators can call the shots on both Houses of Congress and, like we witnessed already with this economic package, those three people can make demands on what goes in and what stays out of the bill.
This is too important and, furthermore, what Reid does on this bill may determine how legislation will be handled for the next four years.
By instead calling the Republicans on a filibuster, it puts the ball back in their court. If they do filibuster, they will have to have the support from their own party members to maintain the filibuster. With instantaneous news to our cell phones and live Senate coverage on C-Span, the American People will witness in real time their lawmakers reading newspapers and cartoons on the Senate floor to block any further discussion or legislation. And if the few obstructionist Republicans do convince the rest of their party’s Senators to go along with such a scene, it will not look good to the American people and the Republicans will pay the price in the 2010 elections.