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How the Spendulus Bill Could Still Fail

Byron York explains how, although unlikely, the Spendulus, Porkulus, Socialist Generational Theft Act of 2009 could still fail.

Most reporting on the stimulus is based on the assumption that, since there is now a deal in the Senate, the bill will ultimately pass. That is still the most likely possibility, given the big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. But it could still be a squeaker -- and it could still fail.

Here's the situation. There are 58 Democratic senators. (There would be 59 if they had Al Franken, but they don't.) There are 41 Republicans. (There would be 42 if they had Norm Coleman, but they don't.) Sixty are needed to stop a filibuster. The current Senate bill has the support of three Republicans: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter. So with the support of all 58 Democrats, there are a total of 61 votes to move the stimulus bill forward. I'm told that all three Republicans are unchangeably committed to voting in favor of moving the bill forward this evening.

But here is the hitch. The bill will of course then go on to the House-Senate conference. I am told that when the (changed) stimulus bill returns to the Senate from conference, almost certainly with more spending than is in the current Senate version, it will have to pass a second 60-vote hurdle. So what happens if House-added spending causes one or more of the three Republican supporters to withdraw support?

I think it is unlikely the bill will come out of conference bigger simply because it is so freaking big now that even Democrats should be able to resist the urge to pile more onto it. Democrats have seen the public outcry over this thing too and they know that if they don't overreach they will get their wish list. You never know though. Keep making your voices heard. It ain't over til it's over.


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Comments (23)

A. i am willing to bet it ... (Below threshold)
retired miilitary:

A. i am willing to bet it will get bigger.
b. I am willing to bet Snowe, collins and Spectre will still vote for it.

And if that happens, the De... (Below threshold)

And if that happens, the Democrats will simply - and yes, simply - decide to do away with the filibuster (perhaps altogether, perhaps only in cases of 'national emergency') and pass the stimulus with a simple majority.

"A. i am willing to bet it ... (Below threshold)
David Marcoe:

"A. i am willing to bet it will get bigger."

Agreed. The "compromise" already added $100 billion.

"b. I am willing to bet Snowe, collins and Spectre will still vote for it."

If it comes back even larger, their pretext in voting for it becomes even thinner, which they're already having a hard time justifying. Voinovich dropped out when they were forging the "compromise" and Collins has already said she wouldn't vote for it if there was too much pork, a next too meaningless statement at this round, but it shows she can still be bent. Specter been around too long to care, but who knows about Snowe?

In any case, fighting means we have a chance. Surrender means we already lost.

Oh, the Spendulus bill will... (Below threshold)

Oh, the Spendulus bill will fail alright. Just not with the House and Senate. It'll fail the country after implementation.

A. I was correct.... (Below threshold)
retired military:

A. I was correct.

B. I was correct.

No suprise though I have been predicting those three RINOs would sell out for weeks.

I'm not sure if it makes se... (Below threshold)

I'm not sure if it makes sense. Economies go through cycles and recession is part of the cycle. I read the history of cycles at http://www.recessioninfocenter.com

Lorie, as much as I like an... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Lorie, as much as I like and respect you, you didn't specify one single provision of this bill as any good reason to oppose it.

Here's what I specifically like about the bill:

1. It increases construction and renovation of crumbling veterans hospitals, providing jobs. Who doesn't want veterans to get decent health care here?

2. It increases support for federally sponsored highway projects, creating jobs. Who doesn't want decent highways with few potholes to ride on?

3. It increases federal support for mass transit projects, creating jobs, reducing pollution and parking problems within congested cities. Who doesn't like less congested city traffic or less difficulty finding a parking space?

4. It modernizes the nation's electrical grid with some districts such as the Bonneville Power Administration which sells electricity to Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, etc. getting nine new electricity generation projects. This creates jobs, and will provide the extra power needed for a new generation of extreme hybrid automobiles which will begin to debut from 2010-2015 which can travel 40 miles before they use any gas at all. By contrast, John McCain only proposed a small gas tax reduction to deal with cutting fuel costs compared to this far reaching program. Isn't using less gas and having more electricity a good thing?

5. $40 billion in aid to cities, if included in the final portion of the bill, will prevent job cuts to firemen and police, preserving jobs. Aren't firemen and police a good thing?

6. Several billion dollars would be distributed to aging schools or colleges to modernize and to help to educate children for the jobs of the future. Isn't education a good thing?

7. Although controversial, several new cleaner and safer new generation nuclear power plants could replace some old fashioned dirty burning coal fired plants. This would provide construction jobs as well provide cleaner electrical power. Isn't electricity a good thing?

Opponents of the bill have demonized it, yet many without offering few real reasons to actually oppose the bill. But one look at where the spending actually goes, what it creates, and how many jobs are involved tells anyone that this carries a lot of bang for the buck. Sure this bill is expensive. But it achieves a great deal of real results that most people will actually see within their own communities.

When you have a medical emergency or a fire, it's nice to call firemen. When you're a crime victim, it's nice to have police handy. You want schools for your children. You want the veterans to have modern hospitals for their medical needs. So why oppose this bill?

Is there any possibility of... (Below threshold)

Is there any possibility of picking off two Democrats somewhere?

PaulI would like to ... (Below threshold)

I would like to do some fix up to my house.

Contribute more money to some charities.

Send my daughter to a nicer College.

Bail out the government and more.

All warm fuzzy and nice ideas.

Only problem is I have to find a way to pay for it without running up an outrageous debt that will sink me in the future. Otherwise I have to prioritize and live within my means. The government needs to do the same thing or they will destroy our economy regardless of any good intentions they may have.

Wayne:No.... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:



<a href="http://www.politic... (Below threshold)
retired military:


Reids spokesman

"Maybe Someone should tell congressman Shuler that under the leadership of President Obama we have put together a bipartisan bill that will create or save 3 to 4 million jobs, and that We have been more than willing to work with our republican friends. We have accepted some of their ideas and will continue to do so."

Ah yes the call of Bipartisianship already. 3 "republicans" (RINOS) out of what 200?

Don't think this pork won't... (Below threshold)

Don't think this pork won't get bigger. The Dems are on a spending and social engineering high. You think Nancy Pelosi gives a rat's ass what the Senate thinks?

I'm sure her cronies have already given her a list of things they'd forgotten about, until now.

Yes, if this bill isn't pas... (Below threshold)

Yes, if this bill isn't passed, Paul Hooson says there will be no firemen or policemen.

So nice to see the old fear mongoring is back in style. ww

GarandFan:And don'... (Below threshold)


And don't forget that in 3 months, the current "stimulus plan won't be enough", and they'll throw another Porkulus plan down the chute because it's an "emergency".

Anything they missed this time around will be included next time.

Wildwilliie, of course I ne... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Wildwilliie, of course I never said that there won't be any firemen or police. That's just silly. There will simply be cutbacks in many cities as over 82% of American cities have a current budget crisis due to high unemployment generating too low of taxes to pay for many services. Even the state of California closed all government offices for a day last week due to a lack of money. Some cities and states are in dire condition.

I's just like to see some rational discussion here exactly which part of helping cities hire police or firemen, paying for veterans hospital construction, highway construction, school modernization, etc. in this particular bill is so objectionable as to oppose this entire bill. I don't get it.

This argument here seems more partisan than rational, and if anything is pretty damaging to the Republican brand if many can't be counted on to agree to come together around loose goals for American society such as schools, veterans hospitals, electrical power, or other reasonable goals.

I used to be a registered Republican at one time, and I always supported schools, police, fire and other basic services. But some in the party just became too extreme for my tastes, and I became a Democrat after 1980. I even worked for President Nixon as a 17 year old youth worker in 1972 for example, and even Nixon supported revenue sharing with the states and cities to fund important projects that local tax bases could not cover.

Most of the arguments I've seen opposed to this economic spending bill fail to cite even one example of one program that should be removed from the package. Most of the arguments I've seen simply oppose the bill, but offer no real reason to oppose the bill.

I can understand more controversial subjects such as abortion bringing out the opponents, but to me this bill simply lacks the controversy.

Is there nothing we can do ... (Below threshold)

Is there nothing we can do to grab the attention of Specter and Snow and Collins? They're not voting for the $timulus because they think it will help. They don't know whether it will help or not. If they'd open their eyes to the evidence, they would know that it will probably HURT in the long run. So why are they voting for it? For the same reason that any Senator ever votes for anything. Because they think they will score political points. Can't we convince them that this is politically hazardous?

The bill is WRONG. Call you... (Below threshold)

The bill is WRONG. Call your senator and congressperson NOW. Do it early today.

The economy is in VERY DIRE STRAIGHTS. The rate of unemployment is dramatically rising monthly & the rate of spending is declining more rapidly month after month. Our financial system is shutting down - like a slow case of cardiac arrest.

All of the $800+ billion needs to be spent in the next quarter. Projects to start beyond 6 months are not viable.

The foreclosure rate is NOT slowing. A bank's mortgageable asset becomes non-performing 90 days after payments cease (becomes a so-called toxic asset). This is the engine of destruction causing our economy to failing, which is becoming dramatically worse. When you don't have functioning banks that can offer low interest rates all commerce suffers. Bank rates need to be at 2.5% to 3.75% ASAP. The plan about to be announced is too weak considering the Treasury rate is 0.25%.

Sure, everyone wants all the promised stuff and for people to be put to work, but it comes too late. Below is BOLD plan and what is needed ASAP to be running within 7 weeks.

1. Inject massive funds into banks with controls and remove toxic assets to get (Stoke the economy and keep more people in their homes.)

2. Extend & enhance unemployment benefits to 70% of lost job wages and for up to 1.5 years.
(Help the folks out of work to keep their homes.)

3. Extend interest-free loans to all states to keep those employees working

4. Similarly fund all suspended State projects.

5. Provide every taxpayer with money every month that MUST be spent. Use credit card where every allotment must be spent within 25 days on goods or services, but not for savings, banking, and layaway. The government monthly for as long as needed can recharge the card. Suggested is $500 per month for up to 4 months for evaluation. The rate can be tapered up or down.

Lobby for this plan. Every day 30,000 people are laid off and that rate will soon double.


PS: Democrats wanted "goodies" at 2 and 4 years to improve their reelection chances. This is pure "PORK" because it will come too late to benefit the economy. A quote from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's advice that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And this crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before." Republicans love "trickle down." But that also is too slow. The problem is that both parties love their jobs a little too much.

Mr. Hooson;Presumi... (Below threshold)

Mr. Hooson;

Presuming you're serious and not a troll, let me ask you an analogous question - you have a family that's in dire straights because they have maxxed out their credit cards and mortgage payments. Do you think giving them your credit cards is the best choice? Or would some tough love do them far more good?

Cities and California are in trouble not because of declining tax revenues but because of massive spending. You need only look at the size of the annual budgets over the last 10 or 20 years to see that. Moreover, where exactly do you think the money you want them to get will come from? Taxpayers who don't live in a state? I just don't get it.

I don't think Mr. Hooson un... (Below threshold)

I don't think Mr. Hooson understand what a budget is. He only cares if what you are buying is good or bad. He seems to not understand if you can't afford everything that you would like that you should prioritize and some things that you want will have to wait. He doesn't seem to understand how someone can be against buying nice things because it cost too much.

Mr.Hoosan, I go to t... (Below threshold)

I go to the VA Hospital in Shrevesport
every month with my husband, it was already being
re-modeled before Obama was elected. The VA
hospital in Houston is one of the new state of the art
medical centers in the country, working with
Baylor University. They built a McDonald house
and housing for the veteran homeless before
Obama was elected.
The private sector has been miraculous is
their response in reaching out to help in
many extreme situations.
But if you insist, when you get your big
fat check, I've got a bridge I'd like to
sell you.

The bill will pass, I think... (Below threshold)
William Hamblen:

The bill will pass, I think, regardless of what the Republicans do. It will come back to the Senate as a conference report, and I believe the rule is that there is no debate on a conference report. There being more than 51 Democrats the bill will pass.

Good intentions? There are ... (Below threshold)

Good intentions? There are no good intentions up in DC other than the intention for this crop of crooks to line their own pockets by picking ours!

This is a massive payoff to friends. Now we need to stop it... Sounds like it's time for some serious reading, then petitions and I'm ready to pack my car for a march on Washington!

We have been the silent majority for far too long!

No... I have a better idea!... (Below threshold)

No... I have a better idea! Since we are the people who actually have jobs, raise families, and do the lion share of the work.

We don't want the government interfering in our lives and all we want to do is provide for our families the best we can... We won't go en masse to Washington.... Cause we have kids to feed!


We can stage a massive flooding of people at each of our local Congress and Senate Offices... Get some news play...

And I don't mean calling these fools on the phone I mean showing up outside their offices in huge quantities. It's local and we could do this.






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