Posts Tagged ‘Pelosi’
House Democrats’ maneuver blocks GOP amendments on tax vote
Posted by Robert Bluey (Profile)
Wednesday, December 1st at 10:54PM EST
From the diaries by Erick.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Democrats would disregard the Obama administration’s ongoing negotiations with congressional Republicans and force a vote on taxes. Democrats will use a procedural maneuver preventing the GOP from offering an amendment to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
Republicans immediately voiced alarm at the move. While the vote would prevent tax hikes on Americans earning $250,000 or less, small businesses would face steep tax increases under the Democrats’ plan.
Without an opportunity to offer amendments, Republicans are expected to vote against the measure. By doing so they’ll give Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) one final opportunity to demagogue the issue. However, it will likely be a short-lived victory. The measure has little chance of passing in the Senate.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, expressed his disappointment with the Democrats’ decision as negotiations with the administration continued.
“This is disappointing and a sign of bad faith after the president agreed to bipartisan, bi-cameral talks,” Camp told Fox News. “There will be bipartisan opposition to the Democrats’ push to raise taxes on small business.”
Given her authoritarian rule of the House, it’s not surprising Pelosi is using a procedural political trick to force Thursday’s floor vote. Democrats took a previously House-passed bill and replaced the language — preventing Republicans from offering amendments.
It remains unclear how the Democrats’ maneuver will impact the Obama administration’s negotiations over taxes — a top issue for Republicans in the lame-duck session. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated the political stunt wouldn’t help matters.
“While we had a good meeting at the White House yesterday about how we’ll resolve the issue of stopping all the tax hikes, the House leaders are going to go down this path of gerrymandering the process so that members only have one option, and that’s to vote on only providing some tax relief to the American people,” Boehner told The Hill. “I think it’s wrong, it does undercut the conversation we had just yesterday.”
The Wall Street Journal
OCTOBER 22, 2010.
How the GOP was saved from Bush and the establishment.
By PEGGY NOONAN..
Two central facts give shape to the historic 2010 election. The first is not understood by Republicans, and the second not admitted by Democrats.
The first: the tea party is not a “threat” to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party. In a broad sense, the tea party rescued it from being the fat, unhappy, querulous creature it had become, a party that didn’t remember anymore why it existed, or what its historical purpose was. The tea party, with its energy and earnestness, restored the GOP to itself.
.In a practical sense, the tea party saved the Republican Party in this cycle by not going third-party. It could have. The broadly based, locally autonomous movement seems to have made a rolling decision, group by group, to take part in Republican primaries and back Republican hopefuls. (According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, four million more Republicans voted in primaries this year than Democrats, the GOP’s highest such turnout since 1970. I wonder who those people were?)
Because of this, because they did not go third-party, Nov. 2 is not going to be a disaster for the Republicans, but a triumph.
The tea party did something the Republican establishment was incapable of doing: It got the party out from under George W. Bush. The tea party rejected his administration’s spending, overreach and immigration proposals, among other items, and has become only too willing to say so. In doing this, the tea party allowed the Republican establishment itself to get out from under Mr. Bush: “We had to, boss, it was a political necessity!” They released the GOP establishment from its shame cringe.
And they not only freed the Washington establishment, they woke it up. That establishment, composed largely of 50- to 75-year-olds who came to Washington during the Reagan era in a great rush of idealism, in many cases stayed on, as they say, not to do good but to do well. They populated a conservative infrastructure that barely existed when Reagan was coming up: the think tanks and PR groups, the media outlets and governmental organizations. They did not do what conservatives are supposed to do, which is finish their patriotic work and go home, taking the knowledge and sophistication derived from Washington and applying it to local problems. (This accounts in part for the esteem in which former Bush budget chief and current Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is held. He went home.)
The GOP establishment stayed, and one way or another lived off government, breathed in its ways and came to know—learned all too well!—the limits of what is possible and passable. Part of the social and cultural reality behind the tea party-GOP establishment split has been the sheer fact that tea partiers live in non-D.C. America. The establishment came from America, but hasn’t lived there in a long time.
I know and respect some of the establishmentarians, but after dinner, on the third glass of wine, when they get misty-eyed about Reagan and the old days, they are not, I think, weeping for him and what he did but for themselves and who they were. Back when they were new and believed in something.
Finally, the tea party stiffened the GOP’s spine by forcing it to recognize what it had not actually noticed, that we are a nation in crisis. The tea party famously has no party chiefs and no conventions but it does have a theme—stop the spending, stop the sloth, incompetence and unneeded regulation—and has lent it to the GOP.
Actually, Maureen “Moe” Tucker, former drummer of the Velvet Underground, has done the best job ever of explaining where the tea party stands and why it stands there. She also suggests the breadth and variety of the movement. In an interview this week in St. Louis’s Riverfront Times, Ms. Tucker said she’d never been particularly political but grew alarmed by the direction the country was taking. In the summer of 2009, she went to a tea-party rally in southern Georgia. A chance man-on-the-street interview became a YouTube sensation. No one on the left could believe this intelligent rally-goer was the former drummer of the 1960s breakthrough band; no one on the left understood that an artist could be a tea partier. Because that’s so not cool, and the Velvet Underground was cool.
Ms. Tucker, in the interview, ran through the misconceptions people have about tea partiers: “that they’re all racists, they’re all religious nuts, they’re all uninformed, they’re all stupid, they want no taxes at all and no regulations whatsoever.” These stereotypes, she observed, are encouraged by Democrats to keep their base “on their side.” But she is not a stereotype: “Anyone who thinks I’m crazy about Sarah Palin, Bush, etc., has made quite the presumption. I have voted Democrat all my life, until I started listening to what Obama was promising and started wondering how the hell will this utopian dream be paid for?”
There is also this week a striking essay by Fareed Zakaria, no tea partier he, in Time magazine. He unknowingly touched on part of the reason for the tea party. Mr. Zakaria, born and raised in India, got his first sense of America’s vitality, outsized ways, glamour and crazy high-spiritedness as a young boy in the late 1970s watching bootlegged videotapes of “Dallas.” What a country! His own land, in comparison, seemed sleepy, hidebound. Now when he travels to India, “it’s as if the world has been turned upside down. Indians are brimming with hope and faith in the future. After centuries of stagnation, their economy is on the move, fueling animal spirits and ambition. The whole country feels as if it has been unlocked.” Meanwhile the mood in the U.S. seems glum, dispirited. “The middle class, in particular, feels under assault.” Sixty-three percent of Americans say they do not think they will be able to maintain their current standard of living. “The can-do country is convinced that it can’t.”
All true. And yet. We may be witnessing a new political dynamism. The Tea Party’s rise reflects anything but fatalism, and maybe even a new high-spiritedness. After all, they’re only two years old and they just saved a political party and woke up an elephant.
The second fact of 2010 is understood by Republicans but not admitted by Democrats. It is that this is a fully nationalized election, and at its center it is about one thing: Barack Obama.
It is not, broadly, about the strengths or weaknesses of various local candidates, about constituent services or seniority, although these elements will be at play in some outcomes, Barney Frank’s race likely being one. But it is significant that this year Mr. Frank is in the race of his life, and this week on TV he did not portray the finger-drumming smugness and impatience with your foolishness he usually displays on talk shows. He looked pale and mildly concussed, like someone who just found out that liberals die, too.
This election is about one man, Barack Obama, who fairly or not represents the following: the status quo, Washington, leftism, Nancy Pelosi, Fannie and Freddie, and deficits in trillions, not billions.
Everyone who votes is going to be pretty much voting yay or nay on all of that. And nothing can change that story line now.
Mon, Oct, 04, 2010
It happened late Wednesday night, so it didn’t get much coverage: Speaker Nancy Pelosi cast the deciding vote when the House voted, 210-209, to adjourn.
That’s significant because, by custom, the speaker ordinarily doesn’t vote except on issues of special importance. And because Pelosi, who has shown impressive ability to deliver Democratic majorities on one tough roll call after another for four years, was scrambling to prevail on what is ordinarily a routine vote.
It wasn’t routine this time, because the Republicans wanted a roll call on extending all the George W. Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire on Jan. 1 — even on those malign folks who make more than $250,000 a year. There were enough Democrats on record for that move to give them a majority if a vote had been taken, and 39 Democrats joined Republicans and voted against adjournment.
Pelosi had effectively lost control of the House. So she decided to shut it down and let Democrats go home and try to salvage their seats.
She and they will come back to a lame duck session after the election, which seems likely but not certain to produce a Republican majority in the House that will take office Jan. 3.
Pelosi is not the first House speaker whose career ended with abrupt defeat.
Her four predecessors, all of them talented and dedicated men, could be cited in support of the British parliamentarian Enoch Powell’s maxim that “all political careers end in failure.”
Speaker Jim Wright resigned in 1989 amid an ethics controversy. Speaker Thomas Foley was defeated for re-election in 1994. Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned abruptly after Republican lost seats (but not their majority) in the impeachment-year election of 1998. Speaker Dennis Hastert saw his already dwindling majority dissolve when the Mark Foley scandal story broke on the last day of the session in 2006.
Pelosi’s admirers can argue that she has had a more successful run as speaker than any of them. Although she wasn’t able to defund George W. Bush’s Iraq surge in 2007, she held her Democrats together and led them to gains in 2008.
In 2009, Pelosi’s House passed the $787 billion stimulus package in record time. Then it quickly passed a budget that sharply boosted domestic spending. In June 2009, it passed a cap-and-trade bill to address alleged global warming.
On health care, Pelosi was not daunted by Scott Brown’s victory in the January 2010 Massachusetts Senate race. She pressed Barack Obama and other Democrats to go forward, and she squeezed out a bare majority in the House for the obviously flawed Senate bill in March.
Many observers, including me, thought she wouldn’t be able to get so many Democrats to walk the plank. We seem to have been right about the plank: No Democrats are running ads bragging about Obamacare, and several are running ads bragging about voting against it.
But we were wrong about Pelosi’s skill and determination. And whatever you or the majority of American voters thinks of Obamacare, Pelosi believes that it was a step forward for America — maybe one worth putting the Democratic majority at risk.
Still, Pelosi’s strategy can be questioned, particularly her decision — congenial to her gentry liberal base in San Francisco — to advance cap-and-trade before health care or extension of tax cuts on the non-rich.
She went to some trouble to do so, setting up a special committee in 2007 to bypass Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell on the issue and then acquiescing in (if not encouraging) the 2008 post-election ouster of Dingell by cap-and-trade backer Henry Waxman.
Pelosi has refused to act on immigration (a Hispanic, not gentry liberal, issue) and card check (a union issue) until the Senate does so. But she pushed cap-and-trade forward and pressed members from coal-dependent districts to cast tough votes for it — even though its prospects in the Senate depended on the legislative skills of Barbara Boxer and the willingness of some two dozen Democrats whose states would be hit by high energy costs to support it.
Pushing cap-and-trade in June 2009 meant putting off the health care vote until later. The scramble to pass health care in early 2010 meant putting off a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts on those under the dreaded $250,000 until summer, until September, when the wilting recovery had siphoned off the needed votes.
So you move to punt — er, adjourn. Enoch Powell understood.