Thursday, February 5, 2009

Postponed Daily Strike/Stimulus Update

Good Thursday evening! I have decided to postpone tonight's Daily Strike due to the continuing marathon going on right now in the Senate as it tries to wrap up work on the stimulus package. The Senate has considered several amendments already, and will consider many more as the night goes on. Majority Leader Reid still wants to finish work on the bill this evening. To do so, the Democrats must somehow muster 60 votes under rules agreed to by the majority and the minority. Right now, I'd guess they have about 57 firmly under the belt. The only Democrat I'd worry about right now is Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. He's expressed concern over the overall cost of the bill, and is working with Senator Collins, Republican of Maine, and several other Senators on a compromise amendment that would cut about 100 billion from the bill. The Senators have not yet agreed on the compromise. If a compromise is agreed to, and it passes, the bill will pass with 65 to 70 votes. If no compromise is reached, it gets more interesting. I would guess that Senator Nelson would still vote for the bill if I had to bet on it. This is just too important of a vote to go against a popular President of your own party. He may be somewhat conservative, but he's held together against most of the Republican amendments. That would give us 58 votes. Where do we get the last two? It will most likely fall to three moderate Republicans, Senators Snowe and Collins of Maine, and Specter of Pennsylvania. Earlier tonight, all of them voted for a Republican substitute amendment (offered by John McCain) that would have replaced the bill with $400 billion worth of mostly tax cuts, housing assistance and unemployment assistance. That is not good news for the Democrats. I would say it's anyone's guess at this point whether they'll vote for the final package in the absence of a substitute.

The bottom line, whether the bill passes in its current form depends on either:

-a bipartisan compromise

-the will of three Republican Senators.

We'll give the full rundown tomorrow morning. Please comment if you have any questions!

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