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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)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - March 24, 2009 - Congress Against the Teleprompter

With Senate Democrats set to unveil their budget plan tomorrow after the Teleprompter* goes live tonight to the general public, there continues to be a great deal of unease, especially among moderate Democrats, about the Obama proposal, which spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. But remember, it does not take 60 votes in the Senate to push forward the Decade 9.3 Trillion Deficit building budget. It only takes one more yes vote than the number of no votes be that 41 to 40; 51 to 49, etc.

Roll Call reports today, “Prospects for President Barack Obama’s budget priorities are dimming as moderate Democrats in both chambers look to trim his spending and slow his plans for a cap on carbon emissions. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint has come under fire by the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition in the House, which wants to limit domestic discretionary spending to the rate of inflation — far less than Obama wants.” But even then, let's be realistic, the House Blue Dogs are in fact blue because that have lost most of their bite lately. They appear to be a bunch of dogs mauled by a possessed bear who are also rejected by the liberals in control who don't like the lingering smell of any form of conservatism. Remember, the committee positions held by Blue Dogs mean more money in each of their pocket so who wants to irritate the [W]itch that inhabits the Speaker's chair.

On the Senate side, Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) has reportedly been indicating discomfort with the levels of spending and borrowing in the administration proposal for some time now, especially in light of the higher CBO estimates of the budget’s cost released on Friday. According to CongressDaily, Conrad “declined to provide details about the FY10 discretionary spending level in the resolution but indicated it would likely be less than Obama's $1.13 trillion request. He added he ‘asked for significant savings from all committees of jurisdiction ... there has to be some fairness in addressing this burden.’”

As Sen. Judd Gregg, ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, explained at a press conference yesterday, “The debt under President Obama's budget goes straight up -- straight up in the next five years and it continues on up. . . . Seventeen trillion dollars worth of debt at the end of 10 years, $11 trillion at the end of five years. This translates into a debt-to-GDP ratio which we have not seen in this country since the end of World War II when we were trying to pay off the war debt.”

That might explain all the talk about using the reconciliation process to push President Obama’s expensive and complicated health care and carbon cap and trade (read: energy tax) plans. Reconciliation puts bills on a fast-track process through Congress, restricting amendments, and prevents them from being filibustered, meaning they require only at most 51 votes to pass.

However, a few Senate Democrats appear to be uncomfortable with this, most notably Conrad previously mentioned and according to Politico, “Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), the Senate’s longest-serving member and father of reconciliation, has tried to drum up opposition to the idea of pushing substantive legislation through the budget reconciliation process. And Sen. Tom Carper (D-DL) warned Monday that Democrats could do ‘serious damage to our bipartisan effort’ if they start talking ‘in earnest about putting [health care reform] in reconciliation.’” And Roll Call notes, “Conrad told CBS’ “Face the Nation” he will not include reconciliation in his budget proposal for either health care or climate, arguing that the fast-track procedure should be reserved for deficit reduction.”

Politico reports that Republicans have also warned against using reconciliation,: “[A] senior Republican Senate aide said the GOP could respond to such a move by going ‘nuclear’ — essentially shutting down the Senate through the use of parliamentary maneuvers such as forcing the reading of bills and amendments and prohibiting committees from meeting for more than a few hours at a time.”

The Republicans "hope" that Democrats in Congress and the administration would take seriously the advice of moderate Democrats about the level of spending, borrowing, and taxation in the budget and about backing away from reconciliation plans. However, they are also upgainst the Teleprompter who will speak to the Nation tonight to push his agenda. [*the Teleprompter = Barack Obama]

Tags: Barack Obama, Blue Dogs, deficit, federal budget, teleprompter, 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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