Custom Search

Thursday, December 13, 2007

House and Senate Democrats at Each Others Throats

The politicians will definitely need their Christmas vacation to recover from the major blitz that has followed these last chaotic days in session.

Lets start with the titled reference first, Senate and House Democrats are starting to get nasty with each other, each side making accusations against the other.

The House Democrats accusations:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) accuses Senate Democratic leaders of developing "Stockholm syndrome," showing sympathy to their Republican captors by caving in on legislation to provide middle-class tax cuts paid for with tax increases on the super-rich, tying war funding to troop withdrawal timelines, and mandating renewable energy quotas. If Republicans want to filibuster a bill, Rangel said, Reid should keep the bill on the Senate floor and force the Republicans to talk it to death.

What Rangel seems to be forgetting is Reid tried that exact method last summer, over war funding and it didn't work out quite the way he was hoping, it didn't gain him anything but a sleepless night.

The accusations from the Senate Democrats against the House Democrats is something I have pointed out many times. The house consistently takes their famous roll call votes, supposedly proving that they are doing their jobs, ignoring the basic, simple, fact that if the bill holds no compromises, it will not pass the Senate and neither house has enough votes to override a Presidential veto, even it did manage to get passed the Senate, which means the House didn't do their job at all.

Senate Democrats have fired back, accusing Pelosi and her liberal allies of sending over legislation that they know cannot pass in the Senate, and of making demands that will not gain any GOP votes. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) noted that, this summer, Reid employed just the kind of theatrics Rangel and other House Democrats are demanding, holding the Senate open all night, pulling out cots and forcing a dusk-till-dawn debate on an Iraq war withdrawal measure before a vote on war funding. Democrats gained not a single vote after the all-night antics.

"I understand the frustration; we're frustrated, too," Bayh said. "But holding a bunch of Kabuki theater doesn't get anything done."

It has gotten so nasty that David Obey (D-Wis), told Roll Call, "I'll tell you how soon I will make a decision when I know how soon the Senate sells us out."

The House continues to send bill after bill to the Senate, knowing before it every gets there that the Senate does not have the votes to pass the bill and many simply die there and the ones that don't die, are compromised to garner enough votes to pass.

A perfect example of this is the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), the House passed it with major tax increases (instead of simply reducing spending to pay for it) and the Senate scaled it back, cut the tax increases out of it and passed it, which meant it had to go back to the House.

The house, added in another clause,to stop hedge fund managers from deferring compensation in offshore tax havens, once again knowing it cannot pass the Senate, and now it goes back to the Senate where in order to get it passed, that clause has to come out, or it will be vetoed and neither house has the votes to override the veto.

The House continues to play this game, knowing full well that the Department of Treasury told them, in writing, back in late October, that if the AMT wasn't passed by mid November, million upon millions of American taxpayers may have their refunds delayed.

Another example of this, the SCHIP (State Childrens Health Insurance Plan), like gerbils running on that stupid little wheel in their cage and getting nowhere, the politicians pass a bad bill meant for children, which in actuality covers over 500,000 adults, meant for children of low income families, which in actuality covers children from families that earn up to 300% above poverty level, it gets vetoed and they did not have the votes to override the veto. (Which they knew before they started this process)

What did they do next?

They passed a bill that still did not address those concerns and yesterday it got vetoed and, once again, they do not have the votes to override the veto.

The House seems to think that their supporters are so stupid they cannot tell the difference between a 'record number" of house votes that have no chance of becoming law, and passing legislation that can actually be signed into law.

The games keeps getting played and nothing gets done, then right before their vacation they go on a mad dash to get everything passed and because they shot for the moon the first dozen times around, when they finally compromise as they should have done to begin with, they are accused of caving in, or of bowing to Bush's demands, as the two headlines from The Hill and the Washington Post state.

All these political games the House is playing could be the reason that in the latest Gallup poll, Bush's approval ratings have risen and Congressional approval ratings have not.

Bush's numbers could have risen for a number of reasons, the recent progress in Iraq, the economy, the low unemployment rate, maybe even because he is fighting against raised taxes and possibly a combination of all of that.

It is no surprise at all though why the numbers for Congress remain virtually unchanged.