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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 26, 2008 - #pork

The Senate is expected to proceed to the continuing resolution (H.R. 2638) to fund the government until March 2009. Yesterday, Sen.s Reid (D-NV) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) announced a $56.2 billion stimulus bill full of all kinds of extraneous spending including billions in food stamps and extensions of unemployment insurance. The vote on the stimulus package could come today. Although the CR does not extend the moratorium on offshore drilling or on exploration of western oil shale, Reid and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) are working to try to extend the oil shale ban by attaching it to the stimulus package.

The CR funds most departments at 2008 levels and includes the full fiscal year 2009 Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills: $487 billion for Defense, $40 billion for Homeland Security and $73 billion for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Also included is $22.9 billion in emergency funding for hurricane and natural disaster relief. Reid has identified that he expects the Senate to be in session beginning at 9:30 AM Saturday and to vote on the CR in the morning.

From Senate & News Sources: Congress is set for a busy few days as work and negotiations continue on a number of key pieces of legislation, but while most of the week has been marked with bipartisan deal-making. In the last couple of days Democrats have begun pushing partisan agendas, making it more difficult to finish things up.

On the economic stabilization plan, Senate Republicans continue to negotiate in the hopes of getting a bill ready to vote on in the next day or two. Unfortunately, Sen. Harry Reid is determined to use the situation to launch partisan attacks. He called a press conference this morning to blast Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for joining the negotiations and claiming that his appearance derailed a deal negotiated yesterday. In fact, there was no deal. Democrats tried to claim there was a deal in order to preempt news coming out of a meeting in the White House later in the day. When it turned out there was no deal at the end of the day, Reid tried to blame a dissolution of a deal on McCain when there was no deal to begin with. Reid held a press conference this morning where he said, “We don’t need presidential politics involved in this.” But Reid then attempted to claim that it was Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) plan that negotiators have agreed on, when that is simply not the case. So after complaining about presidential politics being involved, Reid went out of his way to insert it himself.

Meanwhile, Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are threatening critical legislation by pushing policies they know will run into severe opposition. In the Senate, Reid and Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) are attempting to reinsert a ban developing western oil shale resources into the continuing resolution (CR). Republicans are not happy with this development, which could complicate passage of the CR.

In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) continues to lead Democrats in his chamber down the path of confrontation with the Senate over a bill full of important tax measures. Rangel is insisting on fully offsetting the cost of the bill with tax hikes, even though this approach has been rejected multiple times in the Senate. Even Harry Reid is warning House Democrats not to hold up the bill, since President Bush has threatened to veto the House version.

In addition, Senate Democrats are attempting to push a bloated $56.2 billion economic stimulus bill they know is not likely to get enough support to pass. It’s a transparent attempt to add one more political vote for use on the campaign trail, instead of a serious attempt to find consensus. If Democrats truly want to have a successful end to this session and do the right things for the country, they should drop the partisan maneuvering and work with Republicans to pass critical legislation, as they had been doing earlier in the week.

Tags: bailout, Congressional Pork, Continuing Resolution, CR, economic stablization, economic stimulus, pork, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:30 AM - Post Link


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