Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2010

GOP POISED TO KILL TAX-EXTENDERS BILL.... For weeks, Senate Democrats have tried to pass what's called the "tax-extenders bill" -- a key economic package that extends unemployment benefits, maintains popular tax breaks, protects doctors from Medicare cuts, and boosts state aid to prevent massive job layoffs in the states. The country needs this bill to pass, but Republicans won't let it come up for a vote.

In the hopes of finding a compromise, Dems have repeatedly scaled-back the measure, watering it down and removing worthwhile investments. The GOP has responded by insisting the reductions aren't enough, and that they still won't allow a vote.

It now appears Republicans are going to win this fight -- and Americans will lose.

Democratic leaders in the Senate have apparently failed to win enough support to overcome a Republican filibuster of a bill to help the poor, the old and the jobless, despite making a series of cuts to the measure over the past several weeks to appease deficit hawks.

"It looks like we're going to come up short," said a senior Democratic aide on Wednesday evening. "It looks like Republicans are prepared to kill aid to states, an extension of unemployment benefits, and ironically, the Republicans are prepared to kill efforts to close loopholes that allow companies to export jobs overseas." [...]

"Sen. Baucus and Sen. Reid did everything they can to try to pick up the handful of votes needed to overcome the Republican filibuster" said the Dem aide. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson has said repeatedly he would not vote for the measure unless its cost was completely offset, so Reid and Baucus focused on moderate Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who demanded more cuts to the bill if they were to break the unified GOP opposition.

For Snowe and Collins, nothing was good enough. Democrats appear to have lined up 58 votes, but in the Senate, 42 is greater than 58, even when our economic health is on the line.

In the real world, this means millions of jobless Americans will lose their already-modest benefits, and hundreds of thousands of workers will be laid off over the next year, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters. All of this will happen because Republicans are more concerned about the deficit -- a deficit they created under Bush/Cheney -- than the economy.

It's unpleasant to think about, and I really hope it's not true, but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy. After all, these same Republicans have supported deficit-financed tax-extenders before -- there's no credible reason to change course now. On the contrary, with the economy struggling to break through, the need for this package is more obvious, not less, if your goal is to actually improve economic conditions.

The vote is expected today.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Comments

I'm not that knowledgeable about this stuff, but why don't they use reconciliation?

Posted by: Todd on June 24, 2010 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

"It's unpleasant to think about, and I really hope it's not true, but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy. After all, these same Republicans have supported deficit-financed tax-extenders before -- there's no credible reason to change course now. " Do you think Republicans care about America or Americans.These sado-masochists only care about their greed for gains.

Posted by: MLJohnston on June 24, 2010 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

It seems when the noble tea baggeur screams everyone listens . When the cries are from the lowly firefighters , cops , and teachers not so much .
Bless the troglodyte for they bring humour to an otherwise dull suicide .

Posted by: FRP on June 24, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

So apt that Ben Nelson is leading the other Democrats astray in voting for his Ben Tre Philosophy of Government. Yes, Ben Tre, as in "We had to destroy the nation, in order to save it".

Posted by: berttheclock on June 24, 2010 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

"why don't they use reconciliation?"

Need to pass something first to reconcile!

Posted by: NTodd on June 24, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

"... it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

My God, this hasn't been obvious for months now??????

Posted by: Tommybones on June 24, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Let every senior know that the Republican Senate has made sure their doctor has stopped taking medicare patitents like them. If Republicans want to stand in the way of popular measures, they should be prepared to accept the results.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 24, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Of course they're willing to sabotage the economy, the country, even the whole world. All that matters to them is that at the end, standing over the ruins, they will have felt they have won.
They proclaim Christ is their Saviour, yet behave more like Satan. Dante had Satan say these words, and they apply to Republicans:
"I'd rather rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven."
A good new slogan for them, no?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure I'm sounding like a broken record on this point, but this is when the Dems should vote to kill the filibuster.

Forget getting 67 votes, this is when you do what the GOP called the 'constitutional option' back in 2005. All the Dems would need is 50 Senators plus Biden, to assert the authority of the Senate to change its own rules (per Article I, Section 5) and not be bound by votes taken by a previous Senate several decades ago.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on June 24, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, you think so? I will say this that movement conservatives Republicans can justify to themselves screwing the country in the short run since in their minds them holding power is the most important thing. I speculate that as for Snowe and Collins, they are thinking about future committee chairmanships and fear retribution if they cross the majority of their caucus. Further, the current media narrative is not about Republican obstructionism, but Democratic fecklessness. And since liberals and Democrats have once more developed more motivation about beating other Democrats then beating Republicans, they have little to fear.

Posted by: sherparick on June 24, 2010 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Re: the GOP strategy of deliberately sabotaging the economy for their own political gain...

No, they are too stupid to know that that such destruction will be the result of their game. They simply follow the cult of St. Reagan--cut taxes, end regulations, strangle Big Gumbint, unleash military might around the globe, and trust in Jay-sus. All will then be well. Far be it from them to have the mental sophistication to understand the consequences of their ideology.

Posted by: JM917 on June 24, 2010 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Can voters PLEASE REMEMBER that it's THE REPUBLICANS KILLING US?

Isn't there ANYTHING the Democrats can do to get around Republican blockage?

Posted by: PaulW on June 24, 2010 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

And one of the truly sad things about this is, people will blame Democrats, and people will vote for Republicans who can 'get things done.'

This will happen, and indeed has happened to date, due to a fatal combination of lackluster Democratic pushback spotlighting Republican intransigence, and a media machine owned by Republicans who will not lend voice to the pushback.

Posted by: terraformer on June 24, 2010 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

What sherparick said. I'm not sure what other conlcusion one could reach than the idea that Republican obstructionism would naturally extend to the deliberate sabotage of our country's economic recovery. If such a thing proved to be true, I believe it would have roots in an assumption on their part that any short term damage they cause* would be easily reversible once their policies are put back into place. Same as they assume(d) using the Moral Majority and Tea Party movements as cover in the short term could be easily reversed when the usefulness of both was gone.

*Ignoring, of course, the long term damage they have already caused and refuse to address.

Posted by: Perspecticus on June 24, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

it would be really terrific for the e coli reBPublicans to have the internecine squabbles within the Democratic party do all the filthy work of destroying the republic . That is generally left to the obscene designs of the e coli reBPublican party , who no doubt will bridle against any surmised layoffs .
I think any healthy or organic structure needs internal tension to survive . Whether or not that , like every thing else , is good news for the anti American right , AKA , The e coli reBPublican party remains to be seen .
Best of luck though in viewing what is the desperate hacking off of limbs as the party of e coli response to lose weight . The big tent that cuts off the middle class is stronger than eva .

Posted by: FRP on June 24, 2010 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

-If only these poor, aged, and unemployed would just DIE, dammit, then we could get the Republicans on board, and get the country moving forward!

Posted by: DAY on June 24, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently, when the tea baggeur nobles shouted to the whole world listens. When the screams are humble firemen, policemen and teachers, not so much .. In addition, the current narrative media is not the Republican filibuster, but the Democratic inconsistency. And since the Liberals and the Democrats have once again developed more motivation to beat other Democrats, and then beat the Republicans, who have little to fear.

Credit Card Debt

Posted by: moisespollock on June 24, 2010 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

If this vote fails again today, then within an hour, the Dems need to have an ad out saying, "Senate Republicans have unanimously voted 3 (4?5?) times in the last 2 weeks to raise your taxes, cut Medicare, defund your local first responders and preserve favorable treatment of companies that ship American jobs overseas."

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 24, 2010 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Soon, DAY, soon. That day is coming very soon...

Me, I'm over 50, unemployed, and poor, so I'll be one of the ones to go.
But I fantasize about taking a few of the rich MFers with me, before that day.
It's a fantasy. I was just joking! It's a FANTASY!!! A joke, get it? Republicans and conservatives get away with eliminationist humor all the time. Why can't I?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, DAY, I wonder whether Mitch, Ben, Boehner and his ilk realize the newly created Logan's Run Plank in the RepuG platform applies to them, as well?

Posted by: berttheclock on June 24, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't there ANYTHING the Democrats can do to get around Republican blockage?
Yes, but it's bottom kill not top kill and it's up to the Democratic voters, so it's slow and not easy. Simply work for the election of 62+ Democratic senators, so that Lieberman, Nelson, and others don't matter so much and the Republican obstructionism can be completely ignored.

Posted by: N.Wells on June 24, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not that knowledgeable about this stuff, but why don't they use reconciliation?
Posted by: Todd

I think you'll find bill has to reduce deficit to use reconciliation (Byrd rule). As this bill adds to the deficit in the short term, reconciliation not available.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on June 24, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

How about we cut the war funding to pay for this, after all Karzai must have salted away billions of dollars in Dubai bank accounts by now!

Posted by: Joan on June 24, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

We are talking about the GOP that were willing to stick the cost of the BP disaster on the taxpayers!

Posted by: jJS on June 24, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

You can count Steny Hoyer as a GOP member as well, since he's said that Bush's tax cuts should be allowed to expire. These tax cuts helped the poor and middle class.

So on one hand, Republicans want to scuttle Democrats tax cuts and on the other, you have Democrats trying to scuttle Republican tax cuts.

Congress is the worst.

Posted by: Da Pup on June 24, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Salary denied for all members of Congress, if they can't spend they can't get paid. It really is time to start talking about a revolution. Who pays these motherfucker's salaries again? That the war “budget” is simultaneously allowed to run rampant and uncontrolled is just astounding!

Posted by: Trollop in a tizzy on June 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bushie's tax cuts for the filthy rich and his endless war on "terra" is what got us into this mess.

Posted by: getaclue on June 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

"but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

Uh. Does a bear crap in the woods?

Please, of COURSE that's the plan. Ruin as many people as possible, millions, then blame it on the Democrats. That's always been the GOP plan.

Posted by: LL on June 24, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

There's a few political realities that need to replace certain political myths.

1. Ben Nelson is not a Democrat.

2. Collins and Snowe are not "moderate" Republicans with whom any business can be done about anything.

Nelson, Collins and Snowe are part of the right wing traitors.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 24, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Forceful leadership would find a way to do this all through reconciliation.

It is probably too late for this to affect the elections. If the Republicans win the House, forget about any economic stimulus, so the Dems need to do it this year. Reconciliation is the only way to go.

Let the Republicans scream bloody murder. The Dems need to act now, because when the Republicans get power, they will try to strangle the economy so that Obama is blamed for it and loses in 2012.

Posted by: Steve on June 24, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Reconciliation or break the filibuster.

When the majority fails to do what's necessary, that is on the majority. They could have blown up the filibuster, but they didn't want to, primarily because many Democrats in the Congress actually prefer Republican policies, and wished an excuse for inaction.

Obama knew it. He failed to deliver the message. Democrats with supermajorities in Congress failed to do what was required. They continue to fail, week after week, month after month, as the evidence continues to mount that a second recession is on the way.

Obama and Democrats got the stimulus package and other policies off target-- just not as much as much as Republicans have. It's hard to see how continued Democratic majorities in Congress will make any difference unless they change their policies and break the filibuster.

Obama has said he would sooner be a one-term President than compromise on core principals. What core principals is he saving up for?

Posted by: gdb on June 24, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, we could always slash agricultural and corn ethanol subsidies to provide offsets for more stimulus. I'm sure Senator Nelson would be on board with that, since he's such a deficit hawk.

Posted by: mds on June 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Snowe and Collins - the Lorelei - the sirens of the Senate luring the democrats toward the rocks with their songs of compromise.

Posted by: CDW on June 24, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

For you guys calling for use of reconciliation, please re-read ntodd's comment. Both the senate and the house have to pass something before reconciliation can happen. That's why the Senate is trying to get something (almost anything) passed, so that they can then move to reconciliation with what the house has already passed.

Posted by: N.Wells on June 24, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

"it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy"

Right-wingers have been sabotaging America's economy for decades.

Some knew exactly what they were doing, some were simply swept away buy the predatory-"free"-market-cult, some were simply paid off.

Right-wing policies put US in the Great Depression, butchered America's manufacturing base*, and pushed US into the current lingering Republican 2007 Great Recession..

*While right-wing neoliberal fools like Matt Yglesias think that 'building' a hamburger counts as manufacturing, the next time you buy anything that is made of plastic, metal, or electronics, check to see where it was made.

It was likely made in the totalitarian dictatorship of China, where right-wing con's have been outsourcing millions of American manufacturing jobs for decades as a direct result of fraudulent right-wing economic theories.

Posted by: Annoyed on June 24, 2010 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

"...it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

Steve, when do you think we will have the President (or some other influential policy-wonk) stand up and actually call a press conference to call this "spade" a "spade?" I'm not holding my breath.

The ongoing and unprecedented Rethug obstruction is a the best-hidden open secret in this country. And the traditional media are more than complicit: they are active, obfuscating obstructionists.

Can nothing break through this conspiracy to continue the new plutocracy? I've seen lots of posts throughout the blogosphere using logic, reason, Jesus' teachings and warnings (do unto the least of these my brethren; it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle; etc.), statistics, history lessons, Hitler/fascism prophesies - NOTHING breaks through. The stupid and the greedy are winning the day; too bad for the stupid that in the end they, too, will be the losers. I'm losing hope...

Posted by: Analytical Liberal on June 24, 2010 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ignorance is fine, but just remember that the Democrats have a bit of a majority in both houses of congress and have accelerated our debt to "historic" levels (i.e. already more than every administration before this one.)

They can pass anything they want, and we're already on the road to serfdom as a result.

Bon Voyage you bunch of moochers - I'm pulling out of this economy and reducing my income to join the 50% of the population who pay zero income tax.

Get it yet? You can't survive and pay all your handouts and pet projects on the backs of people like me. Our government was founded primarily to support the defense of the states, and to protect one man from another by the rule of law...that's it.

You can try to interpret the Constitution any way you want, but you should really go back and see why this country was founded in the first place. Good luck to all of you - you're going to need it more than me.

Posted by: Rob on June 24, 2010 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Attention everyone:

We're broke. Save the sob stories. This country is in a cataclysmic economic state if we don't cut spending. Cry all you want - profligate spending and debt financing got us IN THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Now Democrats think the solution is the same thing that caused the problem? That's the definition of insanity.

Posted by: OscarDeGrouch on June 24, 2010 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I liked the article, But just as important is the "who" in the story. Who are the 42, and 58? I think the unemployed workers have a right to know. Maybe you could provide a link to where they account for the vote?? Thank you!!

Posted by: shintao on June 24, 2010 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Rethugs are trying to sabotage the economy....In addition, and i truly mean this, i think Rethugs WANT US casualties to increase in Afganistan....Rethugs want bad news in any way shape or form...They don't give a damn about nothing but power & imposing their far right beliefs on everyone...

Republicans are truly evil, despicable, subhuman cannibalistic dwellers who can all go to hell for all i care....

Posted by: Rick on June 24, 2010 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans seek office in order to have something, Democrats seek office to do something. Not strictly true, of course, I think it's pretty close to the mark.

Posted by: Roger the Cabin Boy on June 25, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Dante had Satan say these words . . .

Milton.

Satan doesn't speak in Inferno. All three of his mouths are full.

Posted by: David Tomlin on June 25, 2010 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

"It's unpleasant to think about, and I really hope it's not true, but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy."

It matters not one bit whether they're doing this out of maliciousness or out of ignorance.

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Posted by: Porsche Chadbourn on December 13, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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