Wait, Did Senate Republicans Just Block the Stimulus Package?
Everyone take a mental snapshot of this moment. It appears that Senate Democrats are admitting defeat. They have decided to start trimming the stimulus package until some Republicans and moderate Democrats agree to support it.
Guys, we are through the looking glass now. Who didn’t expect Senate Republicans to put up token resistance and then roll over? Bought off, no doubt, with pork and favors, I thought the squishy Republicans would just keep tacking things onto the package. Instead, the squishy Republicans are asking for things to be taken out of the deal. Leading the way is Senator Susan Collins:
To remove obstacles from the measure’s path, Reid said numerous items could fall by the wayside. “The president, the Democratic leaders, the Republican leaders certainly have every intention of moving forward to getting everything out of the bill that causes heartburn to a significant number of senators,” he told reporters yesterday.
What Senate leaders cannot predict is which provisions will stay in and which will fall out. It also remains unclear whether Democrats are willing to tamper with measures that are considered high priorities for Obama, but that tackle longer-term challenges such as health-care reform and alternative energy development, rather than providing the quick jolt of expanded unemployment and food-stamp benefits and individual tax relief.
The most ambitious effort to cut the bill is being led by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), moderates in their parties who share a dislike of the current version. Collins is scheduled to visit Obama at the White House this afternoon. “I’m going to go to him with a list” of suggested deletions, she said.
Huh. That sound you just heard was Slublog’s head hitting the floor. Somebody get the smelling salts.