Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2009

ONE CHAMBER DOWN.... Just moments ago, the House passed the economic stimulus bill, 246 to 183. Seven Democrats joined the Republicans in opposing the bill.

And how many Republicans broke ranks to support the package? Just 48 hours ago, the Politico reported, "It's now expected that as many as 20 or more Republicans could break ranks to back the president." But today, not even one House Republican voted for the legislation.

The measure now moves to the Senate, which is expected to pass the package tonight. Reader G.S. emailed this morning to ask why the bill needs 60 votes, instead of 51. That's a good question. In this case, it's not a Republican filibuster that necessitates a super-majority; it's Senate rules relating to bills that will increase the budget deficit.

The bill will be subject to a point of order due to its deficit spending, but the point of order can be waived by a 3/5 vote of the Senate. So that means passage would ultimately have required 60 votes whether Republicans filibustered or not.

If the vote count is right, the legislation will likely pass with the bare minimum. Ted Kennedy will not be in the chamber tonight, taking away the majority's margin for error. Joe Lieberman, who observes the Sabbath, will vote, though he'll walk to the Hill and will not ride in the senate elevators. Sherrod Brown, as I mentioned earlier, is coming back tonight from his own mother's funeral, just to make sure the bill makes it to 60.

If there are no surprises, then Sens. Collins, Snowe, and Specter will join the 55 Democrats and two independents to pass the bill. Stay tuned.

Update: Here's the roll call on today's vote. I have no idea why Lipinski voted "present," and why three lawmakers didn't vote at all.

Steve Benen 2:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Comments

The ads write themselves. In each district over the next year and a half, estimate how many jobs the bill creates. Show the workers at work. Then just ask why Representative X voted against those jobs.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on February 13, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

and once again we learn that supposed well-informed insiders like the politico know less than plain old cynical blog readers, who never for a second expected republican support for this measure.

the republican party has decided to stake its near-term future on hoping that the economy is still sucky in november, 2010. how supposed sharpies like the politico can't see this is beyond me.

Posted by: howard on February 13, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans said if the Clinton economic plan (which they opposed unanimously) passed the recovery would crash to a halt and the deficit explode. They said if the Bush plan passed the economy would take off and deficits would fade away. Based on the Republican's record on these things, there is a very good chance the Obama stimulus plan will be a wild success.

Posted by: J Frank Parnell on February 13, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Because Lipinski, or Little Lip, is a disgusting Bush Dog whose daddy got him into office by resigning the seat and having Tennessee resident Little Lip appointed; who shares office space with same daddy, who lobbies for the transportation industry while LL sits on the House committee for it; who insists that his district is full of Reagan Dems while more than three-quarters of them poll otherwise; who utterly ignores his constituents until he borrows Daley people to walk the precincts right before elections; and who really, really needs to be defeated by a real Democrat. Mark Pera unfortunately couldn't do it last year.

It will probably take an indictment to get Little Lip out. Fortunately, he's totally up to earning one.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am truly baffled. It takes a lot of time and energy to be as willfully stupid as the GOP, and yet, that is thier game plan. Good luck with that.

Posted by: jess on February 13, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Then just ask why Representative X voted against those jobs."

And those tax cuts!

Posted by: bubba on February 13, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Mea culpa. Lipinski makes me so mad I misspoke. Lipinski Sr. didn't resign his seat; he won his primary in, I think, 2004, and then dropped out on the way to the general so Sonny could take his place.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Never undermisestimate the stupidity of republicans. Are they deliberately angling for another electoral blow out in '10? Or are they merely hostages of their own insanity?

They don't even bother to pretend to be adults anymore.

Posted by: JoeW on February 13, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

WTF is up with a legislator voting, "present"? Isn't the whole point of a legislator to cast a f-ing vote? If you don't want to vote, then don't be a legislator!

Posted by: Jon Karak on February 13, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I just love Boehner & McCain spouting the "inter-generational theft" meme !
--It would be nice to hear a Democratic Senator say tonight "your hero, Dick Cheney, said that Reagan proved that deficits don't matter!" Tie them to Cheney and accuse them of blasphemy !
--A Obama should observe that when the Republicans unanimously oppose the "largest tax cut in history", bipartisan compromise is impossible !

Posted by: H-Bob on February 13, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Out of curiosity, why would Leiberman, walk to the Hill and not take an elevator? Obviously it has to do with the Sabbath, but I'm completely ignorant on most religions.

What about the Jewish Sabbath prevents him from driving or using elevators

Posted by: Dave on February 13, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Cao's concession to his constituents' wishes was to spin the New Orleans Times-Picayune by pretending he'd vote for this.

Posted by: Steve M. on February 13, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Cao got slapped back into line just like anyone talking tough about independence from the GOP would.

I guess he realizes he is only going to serve one term and decided to say fuck them all and just vote GOP because the leadership in DC is closer and a more immediate threat than a good number of his constituents are.

Posted by: ET on February 13, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

3/5 of 98 is 58.80 (Franken hasn't been seated yet, neither has Hillary's replacement). So is the number needed to defeat the point-of-order objection 59 or 60? And if there's a dispute, doesn't the presiding officer (Biden) get to rule?

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 13, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Dave - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat provides a wealth of fascinating [to me] info :o)

Posted by: genome on February 13, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't get in a car, I don't fucking ride in a car, I don't pick up the phone, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as shit don't roll!"
- Walter, B.L.

Posted by: J on February 13, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I am ecstatic to see that Heath Shuler voted nay with the Republicans AGAIN! Can our new president now quit making appearances with him? Will NC be good enough to find SOMEONE ELSE to oppose Richard Burr in 2010?

Posted by: withay on February 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

the republican party has decided to stake its near-term future on hoping that the economy is still sucky in november, 2010. how supposed sharpies like the politico can't see this is beyond me.

Howard - While I could easily be wrong, it's my guess that they'd never have said such a thing unless they had some reason to do so. It's possible they pulled the theory from their butt, which wouldn't be the first time, but more likely, Politico talked to Congressional aides who suggested their bosses would do such a thing. And then most likely, the Republican leadership cracked down and made sure everyone knew they'd be punished for breaking ranks, and the sheep-like Congressmen did as they were told...to their detriment.

And if that's correct, then it'd show that Republican Congressman KNOW they're making the wrong move, but don't want to upset their party elders. And as usual, they'll suffer because of it. The Republican leadership is as devoid of political ideas as they are of policy ideas and only know how to obstruct. Well, without any real strength, obstruction only sidelines them. The only Republicans who might have a "win" from any of this are the three Republican Senators who insisted on their idiotic compromises. And the ones who abstained won nothing. They didn't want a watered-down stimulus bill. They wanted NO stimulus bill and thought pushing for tax cuts was at least politically sound. They didn't get that. They lost completely. And whether the economy improves or not, they win nothing from this. They totally screwed the pooch. And if Politico was right in saying that any Repubs were thinking of voting for it, it's obvious they went against their better judgment on this one.

Even if the economy stays in the crapper, this decision didn't help them one bit. Republicans were always happy to sideline as many Dems as possible and ensure that they voted against Republican bills. That was an outright political strategy they used for years, to the point of including poison pills in any bills that Dems might have wanted to support. I have no idea why they imagine forcing this upon themselves made any sense. They just helped us screw them over the same way they always wanted to screw us over. Not because it's a smart strategy, but because it's the only "strategy" they know. It's like Republicans have forgotten why they always labeled us "obstructionists".

On a sidenote: I suspect that the problem is that any truly bright political strategists realized a long time ago that the Republican Party was running into a dead-end and joined the Dems. So they're stuck with the diehards who weren't smart enough to realize this.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on February 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

doctor biobrain, i pretty much competely agree with your logic of what happened, but the point is, that was predictable in advance. that the politico chose to give credibility to people telling them that they were probably going to vote for this rather than giving credibility to a 14-year track record (since the contract with america) of the house gop behaving like a parliamentary party with strict party-line discipline and whipping is the problem i'm pointing to....

Posted by: howard on February 13, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Prediction:

In 2010 the Democrats pick up a few more Senate seats to give them a filibuster-proof majority and Rahm Emanuel tells the GOP to go f**k itself.

Posted by: mfw13 on February 13, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Prediction:

In 2010 the Democrats pick up a few more Senate seats to give them a filibuster-proof majority and Rahm Emanuel tells the GOP to go f**k itself.
Posted by: mfw13 on February 13, 2009 at 3:32 PM

I think they'll get one from Missouri. I believe Robin Carnahan will pick up Kit Bond's seat, thank God.

Posted by: Missouri Mule on February 13, 2009 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans said if the Clinton economic plan (which they opposed unanimously) passed the recovery would crash to a halt and the deficit explode.... Based on the Republican's record on these things, there is a very good chance the Obama stimulus plan will be a wild success.

And the Republicans will retake both of houses of Congress anyway.

Posted by: Steve M. on February 13, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Franken hasn't been seated yet, neither has Hillary's replacement - Joe Buck

If there were only 98 seated senators, 59 votes would be needed to get this bill passed. But Gillebrand (Hillary's replacement) has been sworn in, so the number is 60.

Posted by: Danp on February 13, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I just made a call to Representative Lipinski's office. I live in his Illinois district.

The guy answering the phone said he did not want to impede the bill's passage, as it included some positive stuff. However, stuff he had worked to include in the House version and other items he liked were not in the bill. The only thing he would specifically mention was transportation funding, which he considers the most effective form of stimulus (I can think of other more effective forms, but it is a good one to include).

He'll put out a press release later today.

I'm new to the district, so I don't know if he's notably corrupt. But on the issues, he's about as far as you can get from me and still be a Democrat. Illinois is a good place to vote Green or IVB on local races.

Posted by: Gene Ha on February 13, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

For anyone interested, I wrote more about how Republicans are screwing this up:
Popular Obstructionism for Dummies

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on February 13, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

If they are ill, why can't Senators vote via videophone?

Posted by: metricpenny on February 13, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

If they are ill, why can't Senators vote via videophone?

Because it would be too easy for super-villains like Lex Luthor and Bin Laden to use latex masks to vote for our sickies. Just the thought of Ted Kennedy voting by videophone, turning off the camera, and then removing his mask to reveal a super-villain makes my blood boil. No, we need for them to be there in person, so we can better identify them.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on February 13, 2009 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

LOL! Thanks Doctor Biobrain @ 4:23.

Posted by: metricpenny on February 13, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

My newly elected representative, Parker Griffith (D.-Al) voted against the stimulus bill both times righteously angering many of us who worked for his election last November. He also voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. We're letting him know how disappointed we are with his votes and we're actively looking for principled Democratic opposition for Griffith in 2010.

Posted by: tommy harper on February 13, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like Politico keeps getting rolled by whoever is leaking them the "Republican head count" numbers.

Didn't they claim Obama might get 15 Republicans for the original House bill?

Posted by: Jinchi on February 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Joe is an observant orthodox Jew. That means from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday he may not do any work, or what the Rabbis have decided is work. For some reason the definition of work includes riding in a conveyance (horizontal or vertical), answering the phone, working a light switch, faucet, or stove. You can't handle money. Presumably you are allowed to wipe your own butt.

My father for many years worked in a large apartment house with many observant Jews and he was considered a Shabbos Goy, the gentile who did all those things for you that you weren't allowed to do for yourself. For a tip or a fee, of course. My father did it for the money, but always felt he was looked down on as an inferior because he wasn't one of them.

Posted by: rich on February 13, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Never undermisestimate the stupidity of republicans
Or democrats

Posted by: EC Sedgwick on February 13, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, Dr. Biobrain made a funny! An excellent one, too. I'm cracking up over here.

I'm down with Shabbos (and thanks for the Sobchak moment, J), but does it really get dark in DC at 3 p.m. in February?

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, it wouldn't be dark when he went to the senate, but it would be dark when he left, at which point he wouldn't be able to drive his car home, so he may as well walk in the first place.

come rosh hashanah or yom kippur, if you live near a conservative or orthodox synagogue, you will always see a large number of people walking to services.

PS. rich, the most famous shabbas goy of all is colin powell....

Posted by: howard on February 13, 2009 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

i was curious about lipinski's no vote, so i called his office. the young man i spoke to said something about infrastructure and that lipinski was "not happy with the direction" of the bill. given defazio's statements on the rachel maddow show on jan 23, it's possible that lipinski's was a protest vote.

i also called clyburn's office to find out why he didn't vote (he's house majority whip, for crying out loud) and was told, after some delay and difficulty, that he had left town earlier today on a "family emergency.

i wrote it up here: http://knowyourgovernment.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/final-vote-results-for-roll-call-70/

Posted by: karen marie on February 13, 2009 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, it wouldn't be dark when he went to the senate, but it would be dark when he left, at which point he wouldn't be able to drive his car home, so he may as well walk in the first place.

This is why you get the big bucks, howard. And it's even more embarrassing because I live a couple of blocks from a synagogue and of course have noticed all the walkers. However, everyone in Chicago walks, so that's my defense.

it's possible that lipinski's was a protest vote.

It's possible, but it would be completely out of keeping with his entire legislative history.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2009 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, i was being nice. i wasn't so nice when i spoke to lipinski's office. i suggested that given the current reputation of illinois pols, lipinski would have been better off voting "yes" and keeping his head down.

anyone have any clue about clyburn? think the "family emergency" is cover for him not wanting to vote for another reason?

he is the house majority whip, someone i would have expected would be there voting.

Posted by: karen marie on February 13, 2009 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

So who are the 7 House Dems who voted no? Why isn't this revealed everywhere?

Posted by: hollywood on February 14, 2009 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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