Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 3, 2009

HOUSE REPUBLICANS, 98% ON BOARD.... Yesterday, the House Republican caucus released a list of "what they call wasteful provisions in the Senate version of the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill that is being debated." It is, to be sure, a pretty long list, identifying 32 specific spending measures that the GOP considers either wasteful, lacking stimulative value, or both.

Now, putting aside the merit of the provisions, I went ahead and did some back-of-the-envelope math, adding up the grand total of all of the measures in question. I came up with a total of roughly $18.7 billion.

That is obviously a lot of money. What's more, it's a much larger sum than House Republicans were complaining about last week (GOP staffers no doubt went back to look for additional "waste").

But we're still left with the same problem we had yesterday -- Obama said policymakers shouldn't "let very modest differences get in the way of the overall [stimulus] package moving forward swiftly," and the differences really are modest.

While $18.7 billion is a serious chunk of change, it's also just 2% of the $884.5 billion package under consideration in the Senate.

In other words, after House Republicans carefully combed through the bill, searching for anything they could deem "wasteful," and finding 32 specific measures they found offensive, the GOP lawmakers are still comfortable with 98% of the Democrats' bill.

After screaming "pork!" and "waste!" non-stop for weeks, these guys really should have been able to come up with more than just 2% of the bill. A list like this one is practically an endorsement of the administration's agenda.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Comments

Lots of screaming over what is nothing more than a paper cut.

Posted by: Roger on February 3, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a couple of things on the GOP list that don't look so bad.

Posted by: johan on February 3, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

And this was assuming that what they called pork is actually pork.

And not, say, a couple billion for high energy research for new energy sources or a half billion to improve biomedical research.

You know...stuff that could generate economic growth.....

Posted by: gwangung on February 3, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

And now Dems need to get some air time and point this out every time someone, Repub or reporter makes a comment about wasteful spending or lack of bipartisinship. Dems should be beating this point non-stop from now until it clears the Senate.

Posted by: Jason on February 3, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I dont understand why they didnt just add more stuff to the list. They dont have any problems with lies and distortion nor do they believe the media will actually check out what they claim. Simply list 30% of the stuff as waste if you want to sound obstructionist. its not like they are voting for it anyway.

Posted by: The Gaucho Politico on February 3, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

It seems obvious that a lot of those things were put in there by Dems precisely in order to have chips to give to the Repugs in the bargaining sessions. It didn't work with the House because, well, the House Repugs don't operate on any rational basis. It may work better in the Senate since senators must win in state-wide races, and most states, as we know, lean center to left these days.

So let them have their little victories. Every item can be addressed later in new legislation.

Posted by: Jack Lindahl on February 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Pork" is defined by the media as any spending that Republicans don't like.

Incidentally, "spending" is defined by the media as any spending that Republicans don't like. On the other hand, spending on projects that Republicans do like (e.g. missile defense and misbegotten wars) is, apparently, not "spending".

Good to know.

Posted by: CJ on February 3, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

A list like this one is practically an endorsement of the administration's agenda.

This phrase should be the Democrats' talking point. It'll confuse the Villagers badly, but that's part of its charm.

Posted by: Gregory on February 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many of these jokers were equally outraged by the $18 billion in Wall Street bonuses, and would withhold support of all bailout monies to Wall Street based on that "pork".

I mean, as a taxpayer, I would be glad if they really felt strongly about not wasting money, but it's more than a little suspicious that they would 100% oppose over a small percentage gap.

Posted by: short fuse on February 3, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

i'd be interested in a further breakdown of the states where the bulk of that 2% they're whining about would go.

let me just take a wild stab -- states that are fully controlled by democrats?

teh stoopid is getting to me.

i got an email yesterday from "breakthematrix" looking for people to volunteer to stop obama's stimulus package. it contained no specifics, just a very excited "we can stop this!" i haven't even googled them because i have zero interest in encouraging their madness. anyone know about this group?

Posted by: karen marie on February 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

You seem to think they mean what they say.

Au contraire. They are the party of "Just Say No" and they try to think of excuses that make sense, generally to no avail.

Pray tell, ReThugs, just how do you stimulate without spending money? Tax cuts? So if we had no taxes at all, the economy would be in great shape?

I don't think it was tax consequences that caused investment banks to invent the phony investment vehicles and bad ratings that led to the financial disaster they put us in.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 3, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody at the White House listening to this?

"Republicans support 98% of the stimulus bill, they're not even being asked to seriously compromise. The bill is good enough for any reasonable person, so with time being of the essence it's time to end discussion and pass it."

How much simpler can you get?

Posted by: Doug Bostrom on February 3, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Let them filibuster. They will look like the selfish fools that they are. I never saw this concern for the trillions going for the Iraq war or the other billions of waste, fraud, and abuse under the Bush administrations. Methinks they dost protest too much.

Posted by: Bonnie on February 3, 2009 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Could you please email this post to every reporter on TV? Or can we do it for you?

Posted by: Atlliberal on February 3, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what I don't understand: We elected Obama overwhelmingly; we elected the democratic Senate overwhelmingly; we elected the democratic House overwhelmingly. They're trying to put the liberal agenda in this stimulus plan, they say? Damn straight, I say -- that's why I voted for them.

The republicans can feel free to complain, that's their Constitution-given right. But the fact is that they are impotent and that the country has had enough of their policies and is ready for trying something new. Kindly step aside and allow progress to continue. We elected Obama and the democratic ideology; we did not elect you.

Posted by: Benjamin on February 3, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

2% ?
Really?

Looks like they've decided the public wants it, so they should ask for a very little cut and then all vote for it -- claiming to have succeeded at cutting 'waste' AND getting the political benefit of voting for it.

Whatever.

Obama and Congressional Dem leaders can do whatever they want and the Republicans are virtually irrelevant just now. I say give 'em the 2% and get a 100% vote for the bill.

Of course, they're probably not done packing it yet. Some dip said "Buy American Only" and some other nit will say spend more more more.

Gimme some political leadership! Pass it quick, start spending and move on to fixing mortgages and other important things.

Posted by: MarkH on February 3, 2009 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK


18-billion is less than the value of the record 14,000 earmarks that were in the last budget that the GOP-controlled congress passed in 2005...

they were supposed to pass a budget in 2006 too..

but the party of fiscal responsibility never got around to it..

Posted by: mr. irony on February 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

The real shame from a conservative taxpayer point of view is that the other 98% is waste also but the Republicans agree with the Democrats on it.

This is a major move on both parties part to nationalize critical industries and not let the market deal with them.

They should be putting them and the legislators that supported them in jail not bailing them out.

Posted by: Dub1045 on February 4, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK
Yesterday, the House Republican caucus released a list of "what they call wasteful provisions in the Senate version of the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill that is being debated."

At this point, seriously, who cares what House Republicans think? The measure isn't before the House now, and no one is expecting their support if the Senate passes a different version and the House has to vote on the conference committee version of the bill. They are irrelevant. They have less leverage on the issue as a caucus than they would have if they hadn't unanimously rejected the House version of the bill.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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