Apparently the Republican Senate minority has to force the Congress to do its job

From the Washington Monthly:

ALL 42 SENATE REPUBLICANS ANNOUNCE HOSTAGE PLAN…. The AP had an item late last night, noting that Senate Republicans were circulating a letter, “quietly collecting signatures” on a plan to “block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending.”

This morning, the Senate GOP leadership unveiled their letter — signed by literally all 42 members of the Republican caucus — declaring their intention to hold the chamber hostage until the tax policy debate is resolved.

“[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.”

In practical terms, this means that the Senate Republican caucus will join arms and kill literally every piece of legislation in the lame-duck session — New START, funding U.S. troops, the DREAM Act, etc. — until the government is fully funded and they’re satisfied with the outcome of the debate on tax policy.

When the letter was being circulated yesterday, there was some hope that some of the less-conservative members — the Maine “moderates,” for example — might not go along with the hostage-taking strategy. This morning, however, we learned that every Republican is on board with this plan. Even Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) is saying our national security needs through the pending arms treaty must take a back seat to tax cuts.

It’s pretty obvious: funding the government is the first duty of Congress, and the Senate Republicans are absolutely right in holding strong and saying that, until that is done, nothing else gets done.

The Democrats had huge majorities in both Houses of the eleventy-first Congress; 255-180 in the House of Representatives, and 60-40 (later 59-41) in the Senate. Yet, with a 75 seat majority in the House, they could get only two of the twelve annual appropriations bills passed; in reality, they had quit even trying. In the Senate, they had a filibuster-proof majority until February of this year.

The two appropriations bills passed by the House are Military Construction and Veteran’s Administration, and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development; the remaining ten appropriations bills hadn’t even reached the House floor.

Amazingly enough, when the Democrats had smaller majorities in the 110th Congress, and still had to contend with a Republican President, the Congress got its work done; in the 111th Congress, where there was no need to compromise with Republicans, at least in the House of Representatives, they didn’t get [insert vulgar slang term for feces here] done! Oh, they labored mightily and managed to get the ObaminableCare bill passed last March, something they didn’t have to do, but when it came to doing what they did have to do, when it came to doing their most basic job, they failed, miserably, and didn’t really try.

Well, the current Continuing Resolution which keeps the government funded expires on Friday. It isn’t really anything all that difficult: the Congress can simply take the existing Continuing Resolution, change the dates, and pass it again. That the Republicans would even have to threaten to filibuster everything else until this gets done is astounding.

The big debate is over the extension of the 2001/2003 tax cuts; despite getting hammered in the elections a month ago, the Democrats still want to try to pass their class-warfare version of the tax cuts. The probable compromise is going to be a temporary extension (possibly three years) of the tax cuts, which is all that the GOP is likely to get. Three years would push the current tax rates through the 2014 tax year, by which time the voters will have a chance to replace the President and give the Republicans a Senate majority, so that the existing tax rates can be made permanent. Then, if the Congress decides that we need a tax increase, at least they’ll have to actually vote for one.

January 3rd, and getting some more responsible people into the Congress, cannot get here too soon!

23 Comments

  1. Here we go, here we go, here we go.

    If Obama had any balls, he’d make it clear that any budget savings would first be made by shutting down services in States depening on how Red they were.

  2. The Phoenician wrote:

    If Obama had any balls, he’d make it clear that any budget savings would first be made by shutting down services in States depening on how Red they were.

    That would be a good way to insure that he is a one-term President!

    However, the President is required to spend the budget the way that the Congress passes it; he doesn’t have the flexibility to do as you have suggested.

  3. Here’s the thing: The intransigent Republican elites are happy to pass a $740 billion tax cut on to the millionaires and billionaires, yet would deprive the distressed unemployed and extension. What does that tell you about these immoral idiots?

    And worse, these unpatriotic idiots have no problem increasing the deficit with their tax cuts for the rich, while they complain out of the other side of their mouths about the size of the deficit.

    These Repubs have no concern whatsoever for America or the American people, since for them it is all about continuing the transfer of wealth to their already wealthy benefactors. Please don’t lecture me about the corruption of the Karzai government, we have plenty of it right here in our own Republican party, and some Dems too.

    Should Dana be correct, and we end up with one party rule as a result of the 2012 election, this is the kind of government we will have, corrupt and favoring the wealthy. Let there be no doubt about it!

    I suspect/hope that the Repubs (and Dana) have made a miscalculation, not realizing how tenuous their new majority in the house actually is. When they learn again the historical lesson they have ignored, that their trickle down economics redistributes wealth upwards with only a negative impact on the middle class, as has been the case for most of the past three decades since Reagan, they will be thrown out of office again, probably too late to prevent America’s becoming a third world nation in the throws of massive domestic strife turned violent and revolutionary. Tragic!!!

    PS: The most remarkable thing to me is that Dana, and some other middle class and poor right wingers on this blog, should favor Repub trickle down policies that will impact their economic status negatively. That this is true has already been established by historic precedent.

  4. Perry says:
    2 December 2010 at 08:12
    Here’s the thing: The intransigent Republican elit …. blah, blah, blah….blah, blah, blah… already been established by historic precedent.

    Tell me how many poor people have created jobs. At least Sen. Mr. Theresa Heinz employs thousands of people. Me, zero.

  5. Yorkshire:

    Problem is, he [Obama] doesn’t.

    I totally agree!!!

    The combination of Obama’s lack of balls, and the huge balls possessed by Republican absolutists, is about to guarantee third class status and chaos for our nation. This really is the tragedy of our times, happening right before our very eyes, today folks!!! Let us together turn this around in 2012!

    What was once a really great country is disappearing, in my opinion.

  6. What does that tell you about these immoral idiots?

    Ad hominem.

    And worse, these unpatriotic idiots

    Ad hominem.

    Perry = hypocrite.

  7. Yorkshire:

    Tell me how many poor people have created jobs. At least Sen. Mr. Theresa Heinz employs thousands of people. Me, zero.

    I didn’t realize that you were poor, Yorkshire, but anyway, the point is that you are a consumer, therefore your demand creates jobs. This is why tax cuts for the middle class and poor, and unemployment benefits extensions, help to grow the economy – these funds are spent immediately. A payroll tax holiday would also be very effective for the same reason.

    We are growing about 2.5% now. If we can push this up to a sustainable 3.5-4.0%, we can then attack the deficit. Of course stimulating the economy is taking a risk because this increases an already much too high deficit, but the experts have offered no other way to grow the economy, other than to enhance our exports by such as quantitative easing and getting the Chinese to allow their currency (yuan) to rise. It would also help if American Corporations tried harder to preserve American jobs by investing here instead of overseas.

  8. Perry says:
    2 December 2010 at 08:37 (Edit)
    Yorkshire:

    Tell me how many poor people have created jobs. At least Sen. Mr. Theresa Heinz employs thousands of people. Me, zero.

    I didn’t realize that you were poor, Yorkshire, but anyway, the point is that you are a consumer, therefore your demand creates jobs. This is why tax cuts for the middle class and poor, and unemployment benefits extensions, help to grow the economy – these funds are spent immediately. A payroll tax holiday would also be very effective for the same reason.

    I’m not poor, and I’m not rich, but I’m not in a position to start a business, or create a job. But for those who are, and there are quite a few in that bracket, you siphon needed capital to hire or expand.

    Small business right now is like a thunderstorm over an airport, you’re in a holding pattern not knowing if you have the fuel to continue, divert, or wait. Congress’s inaction has created that.

  9. Yorkshire:

    Small business right now is like a thunderstorm over an airport, you’re in a holding pattern not knowing if you have the fuel to continue, divert, or wait. Congress’s inaction has created that.

    You are correct about Congressional inaction on this issue. The Republicans in the Senate have blocked eight bills aimed at tax reductions for small businesses, even several of whom they were sponsors on the bills.

  10. The most remarkable thing to me is that Dana, and some other middle class and poor right wingers on this blog, should favor Repub trickle down policies that will impact their economic status negatively. That this is true has already been established by historic precedent.

    That is not truth. That is leftwing propaganda.

    My position is rather simple and two-fold. Everyone who earns money should have to pay federal income tax. The federal income tax should be a flat rate and not “progressive”.

  11. That is not truth. That is leftwing propaganda.

    You must enjoy being shown as a liar, PB.

    So what does the summary tell us? The biggest movements toward equality occurred during the LBJ/JFK, Ike, and Clinton administrations. GHW and Reagan bring up the rear. GW and Nixon/Ford do better than Carter. I don’t think any part of these results are surprising.

  12. Small business right now is like a thunderstorm over an airport, you’re in a holding pattern not knowing if you have the fuel to continue, divert, or wait. Congress’s inaction has created that.

    Uh-huh.

    Firstly, banks have the money. If they’re not lending, it’s not Congresses fault.

    Secondly, if you object to Congressional “inaction”, why exactly are you rooting for a Republican Congress whose entire policy is “block anything getting done”?

    The game plan of the Republicans in Congress over the next two years is simple – block Obama, watch people suffer, ride that misery to a win in 2012.

  13. Perry wrote:

    It would also help if American Corporations tried harder to preserve American jobs by investing here instead of overseas.

    An amusing statement, coming from someone who wishes to increase the costs of doing business in the United States by increasing regulations and labor costs for employing people, while simultaneously reduce after-tax income for the people who run American corporations.

    The policies you advocate encourage the exportation of jobs.

  14. Dana Pico says:
    2 December 2010 at 13:33 (Edit)
    Perry wrote:

    It would also help if American Corporations tried harder to preserve American jobs by investing here instead of overseas.

    An amusing statement, coming from someone who wishes to increase the costs of doing business in the United States by increasing regulations and labor costs for employing people, while simultaneously reduce after-tax income for the people who run American corporations.
    The policies you advocate encourage the exportation of jobs.

    Dana, Progressives do not understand that. We’re not taxed enough, and there is not enough (unconstitutional) social spending.

    [format error fixed - pH][pH format screw up fixed - leave my junk alone]

  15. Yorkshire, I support tax reductions for the middle class, paid for by not extending Bush tax cuts for the rich. I also support a reduction in corporate taxes, with a hope that Corporations will be more creative and patriotic in keeping our jobs here.

    I also support Bernanke’s ‘quantitative easing’, which will weaken our currency thus attracting more exports due to the lowered prices of exports in other currencies.

    Finally, I support increased infrastructure stimulus spending. To pay for this, I support increasing the retirement age for social security by one year, means testing benefits for social security and medicare, and phased large decreases in DoD spending.

  16. Dana responds:

    An amusing statement, coming from someone who wishes to increase the costs of doing business in the United States by increasing regulations and labor costs for employing people, while simultaneously reduce after-tax income for the people who run American corporations.

    The policies you advocate encourage the exportation of jobs.

    I simply don’t accept you conclusions as a given.

    Regulation may actually save money by removing uncertainty while providing oversight. Moreover, I don’t think you have yet internalized the fact that deregulation was a major cause of the RE bubble and the Wall Street investment bank shenanigans, thus actually adding to the cost of doing business as private enterprises clean up their own messes in order to survive.

    Do you want air polution like many of China’s major cities have? Thus we have an EPA.

    Do you want big pharma to market their new drugs without adequate testing? Thus we have an FDA.

    On and on. But these federal organizations must operate with effective congressional oversight, and they must be kept to a minimal size.

    I’ve already stated that I favor decreasing corporate taxes and supporting quantitative easing, both aimed at keeping jobs here and creating more as well.

    I also favor decreasing employee costs by encouraging corporations to decrease executive pay. Fortunately, ObamaCare will also reduce employee costs by bending the curve on health care insurance costs per capita, but this is a few years out.

  17. Perry says:
    2 December 2010 at 08:21
    Both parties are to blame, but of course, the Repubs are far, far worse!

    Perry, post a credible citatation or it’s just DNC, Progressive Pure Unaldultrated Bovine Feces (Pure Bull Shit).

  18. Hube says:
    2 December 2010 at 08:25

    What does that tell you about these immoral idiots?

    Ad hominem.

    And worse, these unpatriotic idiots

    Ad hominem.

    Perry = hypocrite.

    Debates with these autistic lefties don’t lead anywhere, do they Hube. Not sure why I have been wasting some of my time with replies in detail.

    Downs had the better idea. Say what you have to say, and mostly ignore the shrieks they emit when the bulls eye is struck.

  19. Not sure why I have been wasting some of my time with replies in detail.

    Especially since I’ve told you that your stalking is creepy, and there’s no way I’d date you.

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