Not So Fast

8 February 2018

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Senate Budget Deal Faces Trouble in House

Last night, the news out of the US Senate was that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has come to terms on a deal that would keep the federal government open beyond midnight tonight. The agreement covers two years and boosts military and domestic spending by over half a trillion dollars a year. In the House, though, the right is annoyed about the increase in spending while the left is upset that the DACA issue hasn't been addressed. There is no guarantee that a House majority will approve the Senate's bill.

Speaker Paul Ryan has his work cut out for him. He claimed things would be find speaking to radio commentator Hugh Hewitt, but one doubts him. He suggested that he could get half of the GOP to vote for the bill. That's only 120 votes, 98 short of what he needs. There are 193 Democrats, and he would need about half of them to succeed. There are two ways this could go wrong.

First, the bill might not pass at all. If the GOP-controlled House can't pass a bill, where there is no filibuster, the closure of the government is on them. They would then have to spend much of tomorrow figuring out how to start over.

Second, a majority of Republicans might vote against the bill. Even if it then passes, it would't be a Republican bill. The Hastert Rule (which is rather silly and is merely a guideline rather than a rule) says that if the Speaker doesn't have a majority of the majority voting for a bill, the bill represents a win for the opposition. That would be the Democrats keeping the government. Speaker Ryan would have some bad optics to address.

Right now, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said she wouldn't be voting for the plan. She spent eight hours in the well of the House yesterday arguing against the absence of a DACA fix. "I'm just telling people why I'm voting the way I'm voting," she told reporters, adding, "I fought very hard for many of the things that are in there, and I think that it's a good bill." But she's a no.

For some Democrats, that isn't enough. Congressman Luiz Guiterrez (D-IL) said, "I'm thankful to her for giving the speech, I applaud her for giving the speech. Now, tomorrow, I want her to use the same kind of tenacity and muscle and perseverance to stop the Democrats from folding."

Meanwhile, some of the usual spending-cutters on the right are torn between fiscal rectitude (never mind the ill-advised tax cut they approved in November) and more defense spending. Bill Flores (R-TX) told the press it would probably be better for the right to vote for the bill. "A lot of us as conservatives, we're having to go through this internal debate. I think once everybody just kind of sits down rationally and says, 'What happens if I vote yes?' You know, that's a better path for us to be on than if I vote no and then all of a sudden Nancy Pelosi is telling Paul Ryan what she needs. So I think it's pretty simple." In other words, if government spending is going to soar, it would be better if the money were spent on things the right prefers.

Still, the pressure on the right to halt spending increases is severe. Koch-funded advocacy groups issued a statement saying a vote for the bill was "a betrayal of American taxpayers and a display of the absolute unwillingness of members of Congress to adhere to any sort of responsible budgeting behavior."

Mr. Ryan will earn his pay this week. 


© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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