Congress to go on recess without passing economic relief bill

by: Chris Bowers

Fri May 28, 2010 at 07:00

The Blue Dogs have successfully watered down, and significantly delayed, the passage of the economic relief bill.  It will not pass before recess:

The U.S. Senate will not take up a package of tax credits and federal-benefit-program extensions before lawmakers leave town for a one-week recess, a senior Democratic aide said Thursday.

The House may pass an extremely watered down version of the bill on Friday morning, before going on recess themselves.  However, in the Senate, since Republicans will use procedural moves that would require 60-votes and at least four days to pass the bill, the Senate has just decided to call it off for the holiday.  Harry Reid had planned to stay in session through the weekend to pass the bill, but that was back when the House was expected to pass the bill on Wednesday.  At this point, even if the leadership had decided to stay in session through the holiday, only a couple of Democratic Senators would have had to skip town to make passage impossible.

This bill--which reportedly had enough votes for passage in the Senate--was intended as a $200 billion, second stimulus of sorts. Originally, it provided grants to states to help pay for Medicare and Medicaid, created six month extensions for unemployment and COBRA benefits, renewed several middle class and small business tax cuts, and infused the economy with needed infrastructure spending. It needed to be passed by June 2nd, too, when hundreds of thousands were set to lose unemployment and COBRA benefits, and when Medicare was set to cut payments to doctors by over 20%.  Also, there is this little thing called the election coming up, too.

But, the Blue Dogs blew the whole thing up, even after the bill was watered down to $144 billion. The version they will vote on tomorrow is watered down even further, cutting $30 billion and ending COBRA altogether:

According to BusinessWeek, the original bill is being split into two separate bills, one that would extend unemployment benefits and one that would provide a 19-month reprieve for doctors from scheduled cuts in Medicare payments.

The House dropped the federal subsidy for COBRA health insurance all together. It won't be in either bill. That program, which helped unemployed people pay for health insurance, will lapse May 31.

This latest version of the bill is $30 billion cheaper and would add $60 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The House will vote on it tomorrow.

Splitting it into two bills will cause even more problems, as it will make the legislation take an even longer time to wind its way through the Senate.

When some version is eventually passed, it retroactively restore the benefits people lost.  The delays and watering down of the package will, however, still cause a lot of damage.  Its almost enough to make you want to see Blue Dogs lose, even if it meas Republicans take their seats:

"We just feel that these provisions warrant more scrutiny than they've received versus just putting them together in a broad package, no changes, no questions asked and asking us to vote for it," said Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D., S.D.). Ms. Herseth Sandlin is a leader of the Blue Dog Democrat Coalition, a group that advocates controlling government spending.

Nice.  Herseth Sandlin's sanctimonious process whining is going to hurt hundreds of thousands of Americans really badly.

Chris Bowers :: Congress to go on recess without passing economic relief bill

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Will the jobs come back? (0.00 / 0)
I've seen some pretty compelling arguments suggesting that a good portion of the people who have been fired aren't really needed anymore.  And less will be needed in the future.

If so then no amount of economic stimulus will bring them back.


What compelling arguments? (0.00 / 0)
I am not sure there is any approach to economics that suggest that jobs won't come back under any circumstances.  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
... (4.00 / 3)
Spoiled, millionaire douche bags.   What the fuck is wrong with these people?  More than ever, we need an amendment specifying campaign financing limits and limiting the total sold so these assholes can't flood the airwaves and get elected by sheeple.  

While winning may be hard, everyone of these people need a primary challenge.

Yeah ... (4.00 / 4)
Blue Dogs are fiscal conservatives .. my ass!! ...what we need is a campaign to makes becoming a Blue Dog is poison ... we need to makes those asshats radioactive .. how to do it? .. I don't know ... but we need for people to know that Blue Dogs aren't fiscal conservatives .. instead .. they are DINO's and corporate whores

[ Parent ]
Pair them (4.00 / 5)
Show wasteful spending for rich people and corporates, especially Wall Street and pair that with votes against the middle class and poor.

Whose side are you on?  The banksters.

[ Parent ]
You mean like this? (4.00 / 3)
House defies Obama, OKs F-35 engine funds the same DAY they killed health care for the unemployed?


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

[ Parent ]
Who's organizing the unemployed? (4.00 / 1)
Are there any groups organizing folks that are unemployed?

In every one of these districts should have a group of folks that are about to lose their insurance because of their CORBA is expiring camped out in front of these (blue)dogs' offices and following them to every public appearance they make.

So they just kill COBRA? (0.00 / 0)
I'm way behind the curve here; but it does seem kind of strange that the Dems should find themselves killing COBRA as a throwaway. (Signed into law by that old Trot Reagan, and all.)

Given that we're currently at a generational high for Dem forces in the elected branches, how do Pollyannas like Lux suggest we move from 'stingier than Reagan' to that progressive Nirvana he's always encouraging us to believe we can get to?!

I seem to recall that, just a few weeks ago, it was that crabby old goat Bunning who was holding up the procession to the unemployment benefit and COBRA extension; now, it's the Dems who are dumping COBRA in the hope of passing unemployment (plus the tax extenders - let's not forget them!)!

And you wonder why folks are cynical about politics?!

Who needs Republicans when we have Blue Dogs? (4.00 / 1)
 "Its almost enough to make you want to see Blue Dogs lose, even if it meas Republicans take their seats"

I'll edit this for you:

It's more than enough to make you want to see Blud Dogs lose, even if it means Republicans take their seats.

There.  Fixed it.

Unemployed people losing health care won't vote (4.00 / 1)
This is beyond belief that Tuesday millions of families start losing their health care - because of Democrats.  (Yes, I know they lost the subsidy but that's the same thing.  I mean, they're unemployed.)

In what universe do Democrats think they will get - or deserve - votes this November?  I'm an activist and I'm even daydreaming about organizing people to vote against my local Dem rep.  I just don't see people bothering to show up and vote after things like this.


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

Show up and vote (4.00 / 1)
But you don't have to vote for the Democrat if they're conservative jerks.

You don't have to vote against the Democrat either.  Only like 10-20% of Democrats (e.g. Blue Dogs) are really bad; there's no point in punishing decent or good Democrats for the sins of these wannabe Republicans.

[ Parent ]
Progressives and actual (non-neo) liberals need to put a massive hole in the idea (4.00 / 2)
that Blue dogs are fiscally responsible.

We've had more than enough evidence to show that this is just not true (i.e. their actions during the healthcare debate).

They're not fiscally responsible, they just acting like republicans, and that means kick the poor.


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