The New New Deal
According to a story on the AP wire, the House today passed, with no Republican support, the President' stimulus package. A lot of people on Tuesday said there was no way this was getting done by President's day, but they were wrong. The line was that the House and Senate versions were so far aparo on the 800 Billion dollar stimulus bill that there was no way they could be reconciled quickly and that possibly they couldn't be reconciled at all. People who believed that don't understand politics. It was important for every democrat involved that the President get some bill--any bill--on his desk by next Monday. There was never any doubt that once it went to the conference committee it was going to fly quickly. It did so in the most likely way, with yet more trimming of House priorities. The differences in the House and Senate versions were very real--so real, in fact, that Nancy Pelosi (who by the way I voted for and would continue to do so if I still lived in her district) skipped the press conference where the compromise was announced. Clearly the amount of spending was too low, the amount of tax cuts too high, and the concessions to moderates in the Senate too great for her to bear. A priority of the House was to restore some of the draconian cuts made to government programs during the Bush administration, and to help shore up state and local governments, some of which are facing the prospect of total financial collapse in the current economy. The Senate's priorities were getting a bill that could be sold to the American people, especially the three moderate republicans needed to prevent a filibuster (since the new bill is a heavily trimmed package it should fly in that regard, but the Dems better hope that all their guys are there to vote this weekend. JP used to say that the measure of a bill is that if everybody is unhappy with the final result it is probably a good bill. By that regard this seems pretty good. The President is giving it a thumbs up, and Harry Reid is patting himself on the back, but nobody else seems ecstatic.
In response to the bill's passage, House minority leader John Boehner threw a temper tantrum on the House floor. No word if he was sent to his room.