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Cochise
12-13-2007, 09:12 AM
Dems cave on spending
By Alexander Bolton
December 13, 2007

Senate and House Democrats backed down Wednesday from a spending showdown with President Bush.

The Democrats’ capitulation Wednesday on the total domestic spending level is the latest instance of Bush prevailing on a major policy showdown. Bush and his Senate Republican allies have repeatedly beat back efforts by Democrats to place restrictions on funding for the war in Iraq as well as Democratic attempts to expand funding of children’s health insurance by $35 billion.

Democratic leaders said Wednesday that they would keep total spending at the strict $933 billion limit set by the White House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also abandoned a proposal she supported Tuesday to eliminate lawmakers’ earmarks from spending bills after she faced stiff opposition from powerful fellow Democrats.

Pelosi told the Democratic chairmen of the House Appropriations subcommittees, the so-called cardinals, that earmarks would stay in the omnibus and that Democratic leaders would accede to cut spending to levels demanded by Bush to save 11 spending bills from a veto, said sources familiar with a meeting that took place in Pelosi’s office early Wednesday morning.

The Democratic cardinals rebelled against a plan suggested by Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) to save $9.5 billion by slashing earmarks. Obey hoped to use the money to minimize cuts to domestic programs important to Democrats.

Pelosi emphasized in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that “we don’t want the bill vetoed,” in reference to a massive omnibus that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House are in the midst of negotiating. She said leaders would have a better understanding of the bill’s details by mid-Thursday.

Although Democrats have accepted Bush’s spending ceiling, obstacles remain to reaching final agreement. House and Senate Democrats are pursuing different approaches to slimming the spending package.

House Democrats have elected to manipulate funding levels for various government programs to reflect their policy priorities. The House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen have been given substantial leeway to decide which programs will be cut and boosted in the process.

The Senate is expected to adopt a straight across-the-board cut without discriminating among Democratic and Republican favorites, said several Democrats briefed on leadership negotiations.

As a result, even after House and Senate appropriators shave the omnibus to Bush’s number, they will still have to wrestle over differences in each chamber’s version.

House leaders are also planning to trim money from individual earmarks but will stop well short of eliminating projects entirely, as Obey proposed.

The good news for Democrats is that their concession on overall spending brings them significantly closer to enacting into law a range of spending priorities.

Pelosi highlighted several areas that would benefit from the passage of Democratic-crafted spending bills, including children’s health and the National Institutes of Health.

She said it is “immoral” that researchers are missing many opportunities to advance health science because of insufficient federal funding, noting that 1,500 Americans die every day because of cancer.

Another significant difficulty emerging for Democrats is a disagreement over war funding. Pelosi made clear that a House-passed omnibus would not include any more funding for the war in Iraq, although it may include funds for military operations in Afghanistan.

One senior House appropriator said that plan means it will be left to the Senate to decide how to package war funds in the omnibus. As lawmakers scramble to recess before Christmas, there will be pressure to add war funds without restrictions on Bush’s ability to conduct the war. The president has vowed to veto any effort to withdraw troops from Iraq or impose other constraints.

House Democrats may face the difficult proposition of considering a spending package that includes unfettered war monies. Pelosi said she would vote against such a bill but did not say she would prevent it from coming to the floor, revealing a large measure of pragmatism as the first session of the 110th Congress reaches its final days.

In the final analysis, Democrats realized they would not be able to muster enough Republican votes to override Bush’s veto. The president vowed to reject any spending package that exceeded the $933 billion limit he set.

Democrats made a final attempt to drive a wedge between congressional Republicans and Bush by threatening to kill all lawmakers’ earmarks to bring the cost of the omnibus to the level Bush demanded. Obey hoped rank-and-file Republicans would pressure their leaders to accept a Democratic-proposed compromise that exceeded the White House budget by $11 billion, said a Democratic aide.

But that plan fizzled in the face of stiff Democratic opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who served as the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development subcommittee before becoming Senate Democratic leader, may have posed the biggest hurdle.

At a Tuesday press conference, Reid declined to endorse the proposal to cut all earmarks and defended his right to steer funds to his home state.

Pelosi also faced strong opposition from the Democratic chairmen of the House Appropriations subcommittees, who in some cases had been waiting through 12 years of Republican control to finally wield a gavel on spending decisions.

Pelosi eased their concerns Wednesday morning by informing them that earmarks would not be cut and spending levels would be pared to the president’s levels to smooth the way for the omnibus to pass. Many government programs have had to subsist on a yearlong stopgap spending measure because Congress failed to pass a slew of spending bills in 2006. Many lawmakers want to avoid that from happening again.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, said he firmly opposed erasing the earmarks he had hammered out with colleagues. He said rank-and-file Democrats were tacitly promised earmarks for 2008 after they agreed to forgo them for 2007 by accepting the stopgap measure.

banyon
12-13-2007, 09:23 AM
I'm sick of these spineless P's OS.

dirk digler
12-13-2007, 09:27 AM
I'm sick of these spineless P's OS.

No shit. IMO they all need to be thrown out of office.

Cochise
12-13-2007, 09:28 AM
I feel for you guys, that your party leadership is so spineless. But I wonder how many libs are really mad enough to not vote for them.

patteeu
12-13-2007, 10:26 AM
They ought to change their symbol from the ass to the white flag.

http://www.ratherbiased.com/photos/donkey.jpg



http://graphics.boston.com/images/bostondirtdogs//Headline_Archives/whiteflag_08_31.jpg

Amnorix
12-13-2007, 11:20 AM
It's either shut down government and don't fund the troops, or cave.

Dems don't have enough votes to override Bush, and Bush won't concede much/anything.

If Dems wouldn't fund the troops in Iraq, you'd be on here talking about them being traitors instead. Give me a break.

patteeu
12-13-2007, 11:30 AM
It's either shut down government and don't fund the troops, or cave.

Dems don't have enough votes to override Bush, and Bush won't concede much/anything.

If Dems wouldn't fund the troops in Iraq, you'd be on here talking about them being traitors instead. Give me a break.

No doubt. I'm just joking around with the pictures. I think they're barely shy of being traitors for their attempts to impede our effectiveness in Iraq as it is.

banyon
12-13-2007, 11:31 AM
It's either shut down government and don't fund the troops, or cave.

Dems don't have enough votes to override Bush, and Bush won't concede much/anything.

If Dems wouldn't fund the troops in Iraq, you'd be on here talking about them being traitors instead. Give me a break.

To the first point, they had an opportunity to take a stand in the supplemental appropriation in March I think without shutting down the entire budget.

But even so, Newtie did it over less than this.

Taco John
12-13-2007, 12:27 PM
Democrats caving is the best thing that could have happened for the Paul campaign. We're getting tons of new democrats through the door at the forums since this latest surrender.

Cochise
12-13-2007, 12:35 PM
I don't see what's so bad about shutting down the government.

jAZ
12-13-2007, 12:47 PM
... a plan suggested by Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) to save $9.5 billion by slashing earmarks.

...

a Democratic-proposed compromise that exceeded the White House budget by $11 billion, said a Democratic aide.
Amazing that they are fighting over something on the order of $10 billion when the WH essentially lost around $20 billion in cash in Iraq alone.

Not to mention the Haliburton fraud.

Or dare we mention the overall cost of the Iraq reaching into the trillions.

Bickering over $10 billion dollars in comparison... that's a joke.

jAZ
12-13-2007, 12:50 PM
No doubt. I'm just joking around with the pictures. I think they're barely shy of being traitors for their attempts to impede our effectiveness in Iraq as it is.
I feel for you guys, that your party leadership is so spineless. But I wonder how many libs are really mad enough to not vote for them.
They work with the WH and they are spineless. They fight and they are over-spending traintors.

How do you keep a straight face?

StcChief
12-13-2007, 12:51 PM
They ought to change their symbol from the ass to the white flag.

http://www.ratherbiased.com/photos/donkey.jpg



http://graphics.boston.com/images/bostondirtdogs//Headline_Archives/whiteflag_08_31.jpg


they really wanna be French anyway :D

Cochise
12-13-2007, 12:54 PM
They work with the WH and they are spineless. They fight and they are over-spending traintors.

How do you keep a straight face?

It's hard to keep one, watching a Congress so inept that they can't even do anything when they have the majority.

patteeu
12-13-2007, 01:14 PM
They work with the WH and they are spineless. They fight and they are over-spending traintors.

How do you keep a straight face?

What they are doing isn't properly characterized as "work[ing] with the WH". They had every intention of not working with the WH but were overcome by the politics of their idiotic position.