Making Them Pay (And Making A Better Bill...?)

I'm under no illusions that the Obama administration was somehow caught flat-footed by the lack of Republican votes for the stimulus bill yesterday but I am a bit (pleasantly) surprised by the retaliatory tone of some statements coming out of the administration in the wake of the vote.

From Politico:

"It's clear the Republicans who voted against the stimulus represent constituents who will be stunned to learn their member of Congress voted against [saving or] creating 4 million jobs," the aide said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the lawmakers will have to answer to their constituents.

"I do believe that there will be people in districts all over the country that will wonder why, when there's a good bill to get the economy moving again, why we still seem to be playing political gotcha," Gibbs said.

And as an "unnamed Democratic official" put it clearly:

"We will run ads in their districts."

Of course, the vote isn't over, the bill still needs to get through the Senate. That debate is scheduled to begin next week. So, in the meantime, I give you the vast leftwing conspiracy:

Amid a worsening economic crisis that resulted in 2.6 million American jobs being lost last year, and with layoffs accelerating in the early part of 2009, Americans United for Change, Political Action, AFSCME and SEIU announced a robust television advertising campaign today as part of the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery.

The ads will target moderate Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in Maine, Chuck Grassley in Iowa, Judd Gregg in New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.

Watch the ad below:

Speaking of the Senate vote, we just may see a much better bill emerge there. John Kerry is making an awful lot of sense.

Sen. John Kerry says Democrats should ignore Republicans’ demands about the stimulus plan if they’re going to vote against it anyway.

Reacting to Wednesday night’s vote in the House -- where not a single GOP member supported the stimulus package -- Kerry told Politico that “if Republicans aren’t prepared to vote for it, I don’t think we should be giving up things, where I think the money can be spent more effectively.”

“If they’re not going to vote for it, let’s go with a plan that we think is going to work.”

See, was that so hard!?

Update [2009-1-29 14:42:48 by Todd Beeton]:H/t to Art3 for this update from HuffPo. While the House "isn't there yet" when it comes to the prospect of stripping Republican measures from the stimulus if they're not going to vote for it anyway, it's nice to see House Dems at least acknowledge the absurdity of conceding anything if they're getting nothing in return:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked Thursday by the Huffington Post why the business tax cuts, whose purpose was to garner Republican support, would be left in the bill if no Republicans supported it regardless.

"That's what my members ask me," said Pelosi. "It wasn't something that was suggested [by Democrats]. It was a heavy lift for our members, but they understood that it has a benefit and were willing to support it."

So far, she said, she has been resistant to removing the cuts from the package. "It's something that we can live with," she said. "I can't answer why they wouldn't vote for this even though their main net-operating-loss carry-back suggestion was part of the tax cuts."

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said that Democratic leadership was still willing to work with the GOP. "I've heard that discussion," he said of the push by Democratic members to take back the business tax cuts and include provisions, such as funds for family planning, that were eliminated due to Republicans objections.

Update [2009-1-29 14:42:48 by Todd Beeton]:Updated title.

Tags: Barack Obama, Republicans, stimulus package (all tags)



Re: Making Them Pay

This is all good to hear. I hope they keep up the public pressure.

by bruh3 2009-01-29 09:39AM | 0 recs

I'm sorry, but can someone point out to me where this bill creates 4 million jobs. I'm sick and tired of spending all this money for nothing. What did the first stimulus do? Nothing. What did the first $350 billion in TARP do? Nothing. In fact, the banks who asked for the money, don't know and dare to ask for more. We are spending ourselves to the grave and I'm tired of it. So, someone please tell me how does this stimulus package promise to create a single job.

by RJEvans 2009-01-29 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Jobs?

well, the first stimulus was merely checks in people's pockets, which never works, it just makes people feel better. as for TARP, that's completely unrelated. I get the frustration with spending all this money, but this is in part about re-building America's infrastructure, which will absolutely create a crapload of jobs.

by Todd Beeton 2009-01-29 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Jobs?

Didn't we spend $300 billion for infrastructure a few years back. Did that work?

This bill seems very similar to what Bush tried the last 8 years, stimulate, stimulate, stimulate. Only difference is that the moneys going to different places and from what I've seen, I'm not convinced it will create the needed jobs.

by tpeichel 2009-01-30 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Jobs?

I think realistically from all the stuff I keep reading that TARP will have been deemed a failure, and that in a very short while we will nationalize the banks, scrub them and then sell back the assets to the private sector. That's one running theory. But given the continued freeze of credit markets due to fears over the still undertermined bad debt, it's not clear what's left. Also, like the GOP leadership in Congress, Wall Street titans have proven themselves to be bad faith actors.

by bruh3 2009-01-29 10:14AM | 0 recs
Nope: Can't Nationalize

As much as that is the preferred course, recall that in 2007 and early 2008 when the banks were first floundering they convinced several oil rich soverign wealth funds to buy large stakes in our banks.  Nationalizing and "scrubbing" the investments of those investors, while we are still dependent on their oil, would court disaster.  Besides, they also hold a huge amount of dollar-demoninated bonds and switching those to Euros would would cause our interest rates to skyrocket, adding stagflation to the deepoing recession.

Good economics in this case --  nationalizing the banks -- makes bad political and energy sense.

by Arthurkc 2009-01-29 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Nope: Can't Nationalize

they may not have a choice when the decision is between total collapse or natioanlization

by bruh3 2009-01-29 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Making Them Pay

I think this obstructionist vote was a big mistake on the Republican which they should pay for dearly.  Rather than in the abstract it hurts the representative on the district and state level.  The rep effectively voted against funding for police, libraries, bridges, keeping thousands of jobs, adding thousands of jobs.  

The problem in the Senate is that we need a few Republicans to get past a filibuster, so a strict partisan alignment as envisioned by Kerry only works if we already know that we have, say, Snowe and Collins in our column.  Otherwise we have to make targetted concessions that bring a few of the Republicans over to insure passage of the bill.

by devilrays 2009-01-29 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Making Them Pay (And Making A Better Bill...?)

Sorry, I still believe this is all orchestrated Kabuki. But there's an easy way to tell.

If the Dems actually have had a change of heart, and abandoned "bipartisanship" we will see the bill grow - not immensely, but significantly.

If this is a continuation of the "see, we're the good guys!" strategy, the bill will remain the same size - or offer further small concessions.

It'll be interesting to see how it falls.

by Neef 2009-01-29 10:07AM | 0 recs
High Stakes: All-In, Betting the Nation

The Bush recession is still gaining speed as it dives toward a real depression.  Obama knows that and his inaugural address was set in the somber tones and words that will give it more meaning next summer when unemployment hits double digits and the DOW hits 6,000.  This stimulus is way, way too little for the dire condition we are in and Obama knows that too.  Obama is not being played by the Republicans.  They know very well where the nation is heading.  They just want Obama to take the blame for not heading it off. Obama wants the Republicans to join in this first remedial step.  Instead, they want to bet the nation's economic future against the political future of blaming Democrats.

This is truly high stakes stuff, but Obama cannot say that, yet, for for fear of spooking the credit and stock markets further, and the Republicans know that too.

At some point, and it may be nearer than we think, Obama will have to go all-in himself, on a gigantic stimulus/recovery plan, that may cost two trillion dollars more, followed this summer by another two trillion. Making a run at bipartisan support was smart and necessary and it failed, and when Obama goes all-in, he can justify ignoring Republican calls for more tax relief as the same old Three Card Monte they just pulled, and the country will agree.

by Arthurkc 2009-01-29 10:25AM | 0 recs
I dont know much about the constitution

Is there anyway that Obama could create a big stimulus by an executive order if things got really bad?

by Kent 2009-01-29 11:04AM | 0 recs

spending bills originate in the house constitutionally.

Unless he declares martial law, which has its own restrictions, there is no executive authority for action like that.

by sepulvedaj3 2009-01-29 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: High Stakes: All-In, Betting the Nation

Can't be done. Those trillions would have to be borrowed and China, etc are already questioning how we can handle the debt load.

If they ever stop buying our treasuries we are screwed. They are very dependent on us so to this point they've bitten the bullet and continue to take our debt.

by tpeichel 2009-01-30 04:55PM | 0 recs
I bet

Bush is glad he isnt in office anymore.

by sepulvedaj3 2009-01-29 11:18AM | 0 recs


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