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Biden And Pelosi Tee It Up for Republicans

Vice President Joe Biden says Democrats are not in favor of tax cuts:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Sunday that he believed that the stimulus package would ultimately pass with "fairly strong vote across the board." "If you notice, roughly 40 percent of this entire package is tax cuts," the vice president said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "That's not what the Democrats wanted. And 60 percent of it is spending, economic stimulus. That's not what the Republicans wanted. But we've come a pretty long way already. So there will be, I'm sure, more compromise."

Biden, in his trademark "ready, fire, aim" style, seemingly tosses a major plank of the Obama campaign (tax cuts for the middle class) out the window on his first weekend news show appearance as Vice President. That gaffe didn't take long. But wait, it gets better.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can't seem to get her head around the concept of reduced spending:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking on ABC's "This Week," said that the assistance to states was necessary, including the family-planning funds. "The family-planning services reduce cost," she said. "The states are in terrible fiscal budget crisis now, and part of it, what we do for children's health, education, and some of those elements, are to help the states meet their financial needs."

So, according to Speaker Pelosi's math, if the states don't spend the money but the federal government does, that represents a net savings? For whom, Madam Speaker?

More worrisome is the question of the Republican's willingness to vote no along party lines against this spending debacle. House Minority Leader John Boehner said today:

"Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all of the spending in this package, we don't think it's going to work," the House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And so if it's the plan that I see today, put me down in the no column."

Republicans in the House can send a strong message to voters and their base by opposing this spending plan; they can also send a clear message to President Obama that they will not give him any political cover for this dangerous legislation.

Predictably, Senator McCain made his obligatory appearance today to say he is opposed to the stimulus package:

While the plan can potentially pass the Democratic-dominated House without Republican support, it will continue to face opposition when it comes before the Senate, said Senator John McCain of Arizona, speaking on "Fox News Sunday." At least two Republicans will need to approve the bill for a filibuster-proof majority vote of 60. Senator McCain, who lost the presidential election to Mr. Obama in November, said that he planned to vote no unless the bill were changed. "We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there'll be no new taxes," Mr. McCain said. "We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes."

It remains to be seen if Senator McCain is serious about what he says or if he plans to use the proposed unprecedented level of federal spending as a springboard to go mavericky on the conservative base again. I wouldn't lay my bet on the Senate Republicans but rather go with the House and Boehner. Reform starts at the base and the base is in the House of Representatives.

Conservatives can draw some encouragement from the eaxamples of Pelosi and Biden that a well articulated argument in favor of the stimulus spending has yet to emerge.


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Comments (20)

There will be a filibuster-... (Below threshold)

There will be a filibuster-proof majority on this one. Dems can do pretty much whatever they want. And they will.

So using Speaker Pelosi's r... (Below threshold)

So using Speaker Pelosi's reasoning if we could just kill a bunch of children the states could save a ton of money.

Conservatives can draw s... (Below threshold)

Conservatives can draw some encouragement from the examples of Pelosi and Biden that a well articulated argument in favor of the stimulus spending has yet to emerge.

You make it sound like it matters. It doesn't seem to - the money is going to be thrown at the problem whether they can really justify it or not. A 'stimulus' is what they want to give us, and they're going to give it to us good and hard...

Good - Let the Republican P... (Below threshold)

Good - Let the Republican Party filibuster the economic stimulus package - and turn every camera in the nation on them... after a few days of sour markets and flashbacks to '1990s Government shutdown' they will BEG to vote for it.

Let's do this. :)

I encourage the 1/3 of the ... (Below threshold)

I encourage the 1/3 of the US senators up for re-election in 2010 to vote for this package. Especially if you are democrat. It will only help the conservatives. ww

The author's interpretation... (Below threshold)

The author's interpretation of The NY Times article is interesting. Your first line concludes that Bidens said democrats are not in favor of tax cuts. That's not what he said at all. He, of course, was specifically referring to the stimulus plan soon to be enacted into law and nothing else.

Secondly, the argument about Pelosi not getting her head around reduced spending. Rightly, or wrongly, the administration and Congress have decided that the answer to the current economic crisis is an infusion of money. It isn't coming from the private sector and the only other source is the government. Now, the conservatives see this as just a disguised effort for democrats to expand government. A legitimate fear I would say in general but not in this case. Interestingly, it was under Republican control of Congress and the WH that the deficit grew grew to the size it did.

The author also says a "well articulated argument in favor of the stimulus spending has not been made. That's simply not true. Many have been made. It's more likely true that the author just philosophically disagrees with many of them.

Banks have been flooded with money but are not lending it because of fear it won't be repaid. Business is not borrowing because of fear that there will be no market for their goods. If the answer is for consumers to pump more money into the markets it simply isn't happening because many don't have the purchasing power to do so.

This administration is a week old. It reflects the will of the majority of the electorate (unlike Clinton's 43% in his first term) and Obama has the right, with his majority in Congress, to have his plan enacted. It also seems that he is trying to reach out to the other side and to make some compromises.

I'm a democrat, a centrist, not a left leaning dem. I'd like to see us all give this a chance. I'm not saying the other side shouldn't disagree. That's their job. But it would seem to me that it just makes common sense to want to see our government succeed in stemming this serious problem.

What!?"Secondly, t... (Below threshold)


"Secondly, the argument about Pelosi not getting her head around reduced spending. Rightly, or wrongly, the administration and Congress have decided that the answer to the current economic crisis is an infusion of money. It isn't coming from the private sector and the only other source is the government".HughG

Where do you think the government's money comes from? The government produces nothing. They take it from the taxpayers in this country both individual and corporate.
You also have the relationship between the branches of government confused. Obamalala was not elected emperor despite his desire to be free of the constants in the Constitution.

MPR"Obamalala"? W... (Below threshold)


"Obamalala"? What's that about. Not much much sense in having a serious discussion with you I guess. Grow up.

I'm a democrat, a centri... (Below threshold)

I'm a democrat, a centrist, not a left leaning dem.

I suppose you believe that makes you more enlightened, but I just think you don't have the intestinal fortitude required to commit. The folks on the left want to take our economic freedom and those on the right desire our social freedom. You weaklings in the center want both. The centrists are to be despised more than anyone.

HughG - Not to qui... (Below threshold)

HughG -

Not to quibble too much - but with 69 million votes out of a possible 208 (or 213, depending) million eligible voters, it's around 33 percent approval - not really a 'majority of the electorate'. Certainly a majority of those who bothered to vote, though!

"Obama has the right, with his majority in Congress, to have his plan enacted." - Um, no.

He has the right to propose, the right to persuade, the right to veto - or override vetos - but he doesn't have the right to toss out an essentially blank check to whoever wants to catch it, with vague promises of infrastructure repairs and eventually making things better.

We've already seen just how well THAT works with the previous rounds of bailouts which were supposed to get the economy moving. Now the attempts are starting to look more like trying something, anything, to avoid looking like they don't have a clue what to do next.

Do we need infrastructure rebuilding? Yeah, I believe we do. Do we need a short-term economy 'starter'? Yeah, I think so - but if 'short term' you're looking at within the next 3-6 months, you aren't going to be getting it from infrastructure projects that are going to take years to begin and decades to finish, or Pelosi's proposals to fund more contraception to ease things down the road. THAT looks long-term to me!

Seems like every politician's got some sort of item they really wanted for Christmas, and now's their chance to get it.

But WE'RE getting stuck with the bill for all their toys that break after they play with them for fifteen minutes... and then they demand they be replaced forever.

We simply can't afford that. MPR brings up a good point which needs to be addressed -

Where do you think the government's money comes from? The government produces nothing. They take it from the taxpayers in this country both individual and corporate.
Sooner or later (and sooner in a lot of states already) that well's going to be dry. The government can promise, but we've got to deliver.

JLawsonThanks for ... (Below threshold)


Thanks for the response rather than engaging in a personal attack per the other 2 people. In looking over what I wrote I see that I was not clear about Obama. of course he doesn't have the "right" merely being elected president. What I could more artfully said was that if the Congress agrees with him his plan should be enacted. I do think that he and the Congress will come to an agreement and THEIR plan will be sent to him and he will sign it.

As for his majority - I think his election was a clear enough decision on the part of the electorate (you're right about that). The polls pretty clearly show he has overwhelming support form the majority of the country at this point.

I think we're in dire economic times and I believe that most, both sides included, have a genuine and real desire to try and fix it. It remains to be seen whether the plans come from "desperation" or not. I happen to think they don't. Will his plans work? That remains to be seen but it seems pretty silly to me to prejudge their failure as some from the far right are doing.

HughG, Obama has no mandate... (Below threshold)

HughG, Obama has no mandate and/or privilege to get his bill enacted without debate. You dems really don't have a clue. When GW was in office, and the republicans had a majority, the dems whined all the time about not being heard, being locked out of the process, etc.

As far as why MPR said Obamalama, you just have to look at the archives of the many, many, many names your side had/has for GW.

Duplicitous and hypocritical are the mantra's of the dem's. ww

Sooner or later (and soo... (Below threshold)

Sooner or later (and sooner in a lot of states already) that well's going to be dry.

There's mostly mud at the bottom of the well. There's a myth that companies are moving their operations overseas to take advantage of the lower cost of labor. In truth, many are merely escaping the prohibitive corporate tax rates. The other edge of that sword is that as those domestic jobs are eliminated, the government loses income tax revenue.

People better wake up before it's too late. As Ross Perot would say, "That sucking sound that you hear..."

WillieI completely... (Below threshold)


I completely agree that there ought to be debate and if the Republicans have workable ideas they should be given appropriate consideration.

Here is what what would wor... (Below threshold)

Here is what what would work immediately. Make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Cut corporate taxes. Cut or eliminate capital gains taxes and dividend taxes. Get rid of the death tax. Money would flood into the market and people would invest in businesses. Revenue would go up into the Treasury. The world would see that America is a good place to put investment dollars.
Obamalala and his O-bots live in La La Land. What he is proposing has never worked anywhere and it won't work here.

Mad Mac will be against it ... (Below threshold)

Mad Mac will be against it on conservative talk shows, but will then geek and vote "yea" at the last minute for "moral" reasons.

The guy is predictable. No wonder he got his butt shot down.

I think we're in dire ec... (Below threshold)

I think we're in dire economic times and I believe that most, both sides included, have a genuine and real desire to try and fix it.

I disagree with you somewhat on that, HughG - I think what they desire most is to make sure THEIR constituency is taken care of, the donors they owe favors to and the voters they promised the sun, moon, and stars to - because THAT insures they get re-elected. Secondary effects be damned - throw the money fast before the next election, so you'll stay in office.

And what results? Look at the graft and corruption surrounding the Big Dig in Boston - a lovely little project that was 275% over budget when finally finished. Cost overruns are endemic to government projects probably because there's essentially no penalty for the politicians involved.

Contrast that with the construction of Hoover Dam - where the emphasis was on getting the project completed, not turning it into a perpetual jobs program. There was a completion date, milestones, and bonuses for the companies doing the work, and penalties for being late.

There is no penalty for the folks passing out the money they don't have, and every chance of gain.

Do they really want to fix things? Or give an appearance of trying while preserving the problems to be used for election ofdder later? Because after watching Washington for close to 30 years now, very rarely are the problems the politician uses as election fodder actually solved.

Are they "Desperation" moves? I think so. We were told with the bank bailouts that something had to be done right now or things would collapse. We've been told that something had to be done right now with the auto bailouts - and now there's news about the auto makers coming back for more.

I don't think they've got a clue, but they're falling back on old habits. When economic problems hit, blame the 'rich', raise taxes, and throw money at the 'deserving' through projects that are open ended and always hungry for more funds.

BTW - here's a list of stuff they're going to be spending money on. From here - channeling the actual bill.


$44 million for construction, repair and improvements at US Department of Agriculture facilties

$209 million for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities

$245 million for maintaining and modernizing the IT system of the Farm Service Agency

$175 million to buy and restore floodplain easements for flood prevention

$50 million for "Watershed Rehabilitation"

$1.1 billion for rural community facilities direct loans

$2 billion for rural business and industry guaranteed loans

$2.7 billion for rural water and waste dispoal direct loans

$22.1 billion for rural housing insurance fund loans

$2.8 billion for loans to spur rural broadband

$150 million for emergency food assistance

$50 million for regional economic development commissions

$1 billion for "Periodic Censuses and Programs"

$350 million for State Broadband Data and Development Grants

$1.8 billion for Rural Broadband Deployment Grants

$1 billion for Rural Wireless Deployment Grants

$650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program

$100 million for "Scientific and Technical Research and Services" at the National Institute of Standards And Technology

$30 million for necessary expenses of the "Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership"

$300 million for a competitive construction grant program for research science buildings

$400 million for "habitat restoration and mitigation activities" at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

$600 million for "accelerating satellite development and acquisition"

$140 million for "climate data modeling"

$3 billion for state and local law enforcement grants

$1 billion for "Community Oriented Policing Services"

$250 million for "accelerating the development of the tier 1 set of Earth science climate research missions recommended by the National Academies Decadal Survey."

$50 million for repairs to NASA facilities from storm damage

$300 million for "Major Research Insrumentation program" (science)

$200 million for "academic research facilities modernization"

$100 million for "Education and Human Resources"

$400 million for "Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction"

$4.5 billion to make military facilities more energy efficient

$1.5 billion for Army Operation and Maintenance fund

$624 million for Navy Operation and Maintenance

$128 million for Marine Corps Operation and Maintenance

$1.23 billion for Air Force Operation and Maintenance

$454 million to "Defense Health Program"

$110 million for Army Reserve Operation and Maintenance

$62 million for Navy Reserve Operation and Maintenance

$45 million for Marine Corps Reserve Operation and Maintenance

$14 million for Air Force Reserve Operation and Maintenance

$302 million for National Guard Operation and Maintenance

$29 million for Air National Guard Operation and Maintenance

$350 million for military energy research and development programs

$2 billion for Army Corps of Engineers "Construction"

$250 million for "Mississippi River and Tributaries"

$2.2 billion for Army Corps "Operation and Maintenance"

$25 million for an Army Corps "Regulatory Program"

$126 million for Interior Department "water reclamation and reuse projects"

$80 million for "rural water projects"

$18.5 billion for "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" research in the Department of Energy. That money includes:

$2 billion for development of advanced batteries

$800 million of that is for biomass research and $400 million for geothermal technologies

$1 billion in grants to "institutional entities for energy sustainability and efficiency"

$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program

$3.5 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants

$3.4 billion for state energy programs

$200 million for expenses to implement energy independence programs

$300 million for expenses to implement Energy efficient appliance rebate programs including the Energy Star program

$400 million for expenses to implement Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Grants to States and Local Governments

$1 billion for expenses necessary for advanced battery manufacturing

$4.5 billion to modernize the nation's electricity grid

$1 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program

$2.4 billion to demonstrate "carbon capture and sequestration technologies"

$400 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Science)

$500 million for "Defense Environmental Cleanup"

$1 billion for construction and repair of border facilities and land ports of entry

$6 billion for energy efficiency projects on government buildings

$600 million to buy and lease government plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles

$426 million in small business loans

$100 million for "non-intrusive detection technology to be deployed at sea ports of entry

$150 million for repair and construction at land border ports of entry

$500 million for explosive detection systems for aviation security

$150 million for alteration or removal of obstructive bridges

$200 million for FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter program

$325 million for Interior Department road, bridge and trail repair projects

$300 million for road and bridge work in Wildlife Refuges and Fish Hatcheries

$1.7 billion for "critical deferred maintenance" in the National Park System

$200 million to revitalize the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

$100 million for National Park Service Centennial Challenge programs

$200 million for repair of U.S. Geological Survey facilities

$500 million for repair and replacement of schools, jails, roads, bridges, housing and more for Bureau of Indian Affairs

$800 million for Superfund programs

$200 million for leaking underground storage tank cleanup

$8.4 billion in "State and Tribal Assistance Grants"

$650 million in "Capital Improvement and Maintenance" at the Agriculture Dept.

$850 million for "Wildland Fire Management"

$550 million for Indian Health facilties

$150 million for deferred maintenance at the Smithsonian museums

$50 million in grants to fund "arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn" through the National Endowment for the Arts

$1.2 billion in grants to states for youth summer jobs programs and other activities

$1 billion for states in dislocated worker employment and training activities

$500 million for the dislocated workers assistance national reserve

$80 million for the enforcement of worker protection laws and regulations related to infrastructure and unemployment insurance investments

$300 million for "construction, rehabilitation and acquisition of Job Corps Centers"

$250 million for public health centers

$1 billion for renovation and repair of health centers

$600 million for nurse, physician and dentist training

$462 million for renovation work at the Centers for Disease Control

$1.5 billion for "National Center for Research Resources"

$500 million for "Buildlings and Facilties" at the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington, D.C.

$700 million for "comparative effectiveness research" on prescription drugs

$1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance

$2 billion in Child Care and Development Block Grants for states

$1 billion for Head Start programs

$1.1 billion for Early Head Start programs

$100 million for Social Security research programs

$200 million for "Aging Services Programs"

$2 billion for "Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology"

$430 million for public health/social services emergency funds

$2.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control for a variety of programs

$5.5 billion in targeted education grants

$5.5 billion in "education finance incentive grants"

$2 billion in "school improvement grants"

$13.6 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

$250 million for statewide education data systems

$14 billion for school modernization, renovation and repair

$160 million for AmeriCorps grants

$400 million for the construction and costs to establish a new "National Computer Center" for the Social Security Administration

$500 million to improve processing of disability and retirement claims

$920 million for Army housing and child development centers

$350 million for Navy and Marine Corps housing and child development centers

$280 million in Air Force housing and child development centers

$3.75 billion in military hospital and surgery center construction

$140 million in Army National Guard construction projects

$70 million in Air National Guard construction projects

$100 million in Army Reserve construction projects

$30 million in Navy Reserve construction projects

$60 million in Air Force Reserve construction projects

$950 million for VA Medical Facilities

$50 million for repairs for military cemeteries

$120 million for a backup information management facility for the State Department

$98 million for National Cybersecurity Initiative

$3 billion for "Grants-in-Aid for Airports"

$300 million for Indian Reservation roads

$300 million for Amtrak capital needs

$800 million for national railroad assets or infrastructure repairs, upgrades

$5.4 billion in federal transit grants

$2 billion in infrastructure development for subways and commuter railways

$5 billion for public housing capital

$1 billion in competitive housing grants

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency upgrades in public housing

$500 million in Native American Housing Block Grants

$4.1 billion to help communities deal with foreclosed homes

$1.5 billion in homeless prevention activities

$79 billion in education funds for states


That's a whole spitload of money going out. Does it need to be spent? Most likely. Is this the best way to finance all those little goodies?

Somehow, I've got my doubts.

JLawsonI surely un... (Below threshold)


I surely understand your sentiment about the motives of those who govern us. I don't deny that both sides play that game.

Call me naive if you will but I'm willing to believe that the circumstances are so dire that there is a desire to fix it.

Bottom line, of course, is that time will tell us.

You can shear a sheep year ... (Below threshold)

You can shear a sheep year after year - the wool grows back, after all. Leave about an eighth of an inch and the sheep's still a moneymaker. (Or so says my father, who grew up on a farm about 70 years back...)

Too close, and you've got problems. I fear we are seeing the result of a slow political skinning that started years back, a 'death of a thousand cuts' so to speak, with the damage (and danger) to a point where it can no longer be ignored or glossed over. I think there's still time to recover - but first the knives have to be put away.

You're absolutely right, though - time will tell just how serious they are.

My biggest problem with the... (Below threshold)

My biggest problem with the stimulus package is the pork that immediately got into it. If our government wanted us to take them seriously, they would not have done that. They care about the economy, but they care about their position and party first. ww






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