Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Daily Strike-2/13/09-The Bill is Passed, Without Objection, The Motion To Reconsider Is Laid On The Table

Good evening from Syracuse, New York, home of the 2003 NCAA Basketball champions, Lady Strike, and Democratic freshman Representative Dan Maffei. Tonight's update will be short since I just got in after 6 hours of driving.

SENATE APPROVES: Since I last updated, the Senate finally voted on the stimulus bill 60-38. The vote on waiving the budget point of order (a procedural hurdle due to the fact that the bill increases the deficit) was 60-38, with only an ailing Senator Kennedy unable to show up to the vote (he had shown up earlier in the week). The vote began at 5:30, and ended up lasting until 10:30 because Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown was arriving from his mother's memorial service. The vote was stuck on 59-38 for about 5 hours. After Brown finally arrived and cast his vote, the Senate proceeded to passage of the full bill, with an identical (and much quicker) 60-38 tally.

Not to belabor the point, but the Republican party did not show much class today. First, the House Republican leadership forces their members to vote unanimously against the stimulus bill (even though a few of them were leaning towards supporting it) just to create a story (in my opinion). Then, Senate Republicans were such sticklers that they HAD to bring up the point of order against the budget rule. If they hadn't, only 50 votes would have been needed to pass the bill, Brown could have attended his mother's memorial without worry, and the vote could have closed at 6:00. What they also could have done is what's called proxy voting, when one member opposed to the bill will vote for it, and announce that he has donated his vote to a missing member. They knew that they ultimately didn't have the votes to stop it, so they just engaged in pointless posturing. I would be pretty upset if I was a Democratic Senator. A guy is dying of brain cancer, and another guy just lost his mother, but the Republicans still HAD to be sticklers. Another item of note: Judd Gregg, who recently backed out of the Commerce post, voted against the bill.

SUMMING UP: So the bill is passed. It's certainly not perfect, and may not solve the economic crisis because it's not big enough, but there is a lot of good in it, probably more than people realize. There is unprecedented funding for clean energy, health information technology, transportation infrastructure and aid to states. Let's be honest, none of us would have predicted in 2007 or even early 2008 that a bill of this magnitude would pass in 2009. The tectonic plates of the country have shifted leftward, and if this bill is perceived as succesful, it will open the door to more radical liberal change.

Obama should sign it in a dramatic ceremony next week. Something to look forward to. I'm going to be taking a couple of days of while I'm up in Syracuse, but our guest bloggers will be filling your blogging needs, and I'll chime in if something dramatic happens. The next Daily Strike will be on Monday night, followed by a Weekly Strike on Tuesday. Have a great holiday weekend!

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