Sunday, February 1, 2009

Can GOP Reform Pork Stimulus Bill?

The United States Senate is scheduled to deal with HR1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, at 2 pm Monday February 2, 2009. By a count from the senate website there are 56 Democrats, 1 independent, 1 independent Democrat and 41 Republicans currently seated. For matters only requiring a simple majority vote to pass party line votes give victories to the Democratic majority. For voting requiring 3/5 or 2/3 majorities a party line vote alone won't get it done.

Without covering all the possibilities and/or procedures like filibusters and cloture it is fair to say some of that will have to come into play to stop the passage of HR1. The view from this blog finds stated opposition of the bill by the GOP as the only event in which Republicans have tried to stand their ground since the November 2008 elections or longer. Rubber stamping confirmations of White House nominations is the other notable activity of the GOP so far this year.

GOP stuffed?Based on the report below and Senator Kyl's record during the shamnesty votes of 2007 little confidence is found in his statements or assessment. For the same reasons Senator DeMint instills more confidence than the former. These are truly defining moments for the GOP and perhaps the DNC as well. By the end of the first 100 days of the Obama Administration, a typical early measure of US Presidents, one party or the other will have the upper hand. The Democratic party majority in Congress and a Democrat in the White House do not make it a foregone conclusion.

One note on the comment of Barney Frank in the story below indicating he never saw ' a tax cut fix a bridge.' As little attention as liberals ever direct to tax cuts it would be easy to say that is the reason for his statement. But it shows his failure or refusal to understand the numbers. Governments do not create wealth. Free people and free markets do. Allowing the private sector to use more of the wealth created to expand economies and jobs through tax cuts also increases revenue to the government. That Mr Frank is how a tax cut fixes a bridge without extra burden on taxpayers. He also failed to tell you that massive spending by the government during these economic hard times will require tax increases afterwards.

It is better to equip the private sector to drive the economy rather than fund short sighted jobs bills with taxpayer money for the reasons stated. But we will see who wins the arguments and how many others the GOP is able to convince to vote against HR1 in its current form.

Stanford Matthews

US Republican Senators Threaten to Block Economic Bill
01 February 2009

Opposition Republican Party senators are warning they likely will vote against U.S. President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan unless it is revised to create more jobs.

pork stimulus billThe party's second-ranking Senate member, Jon Kyl of Arizona, told U.S. television Fox News Sunday the legislation needs to be reconstructed. Kyl and other Republicans say the estimated $820-billion bill wastes money on programs that will not stimulate the economy. They are calling for more tax cuts and infrastructure building.

Another influential Republican senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, called the legislation a "spending plan," not a "stimulus plan." He said on ABC's This Week it is "temporary" and "wasteful."

The other chamber of Congress, the House of Representatives, already has approved the plan. The Senate is to begin debating the legislation this week.

President Obama says the stimulus plan is necessary to save or create three million jobs.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois expressed support for Mr. Obama's plan in a television interview on Fox News. He said lawmakers need to pull together and avoid delaying the rescue plan further, because the United States is facing one of the most serious economic crises in its history.

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, also defended the bill he voted for last week. Frank said the package includes necessary spending on infrastructure, like bridges. He said sarcastically that he never saw a "tax cut fix a bridge."

The U.S. economy - the world's biggest - is in a recession. The country lost 2.6 million jobs last year and already has seen tens of thousands more layoffs this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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