Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hold the line 

The Senate Democrats were not impressed with President Bush's formula of a stimulus package equal to 1% of GDP, and have instead sought a larger package. Senate Republicans are supporting Bush and the House bill (which has the 1% rule imposed.) A political game thus ensues. And in the most interesting part of all, House Speaker Pelosi appears to be in the middle between the Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Pelosi issued a statement tailored to support the position of the Bush administration and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who back her House-passed measure with a few modifications.

Pelosi said House lawmakers are "very receptive to additions to our bill which ensure that disabled veterans and additional seniors are eligible" for rebate checks and want to make sure illegal immigrants are denied them.

Pelosi pointedly did not endorse Senate adds-ons endorsed by Reid, such as provisions benefiting coal companies and a 13-week extension of jobless benefits. The unemployment insurance provision could advance through the House as a separate measure after the stimulus measure passes.
The newspapers are playing this as if the Republicans are to blame, but it isn't just them. Of course, the senators up for re-election want this passed ASAP, but the other 66 are willing to temporize to get maximum advantage. With all due respect to Michelle Malkin and Lassie, it's hard to come up with a good reason for drawing the line at 1%, particularly when you're looking for votes at the senior home. If you're going to cry "fiscal responsibility", how about you get to work on trimming a $3.1 trillion budget?

UPDATE (4pm): The Senate passed the bill without the add-ons. Victory for Pelosi, Bush, and Senate GOP.

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