Saturday, December 17, 2011

The riders on the omnibus go bleep, bleep, bleep

It's a sad state of affairs when one cheers "it could have been worse" as an outcome but Steve Benen runs down the omnibus and well, it really could have been much worse.

The crackpot faction in Congress, meaning, the Tea Party GOPers proposed an abundance of odious riders to the bill. They wanted to defund all the usual fringe right villians from NPR, to Planned Parenthood, to health care and abolish every regulation from consumer financial protection to the EPA. How did that work out, you ask?
All of those riders were removed by Democrats in the final bill. As appropriators from both parties noted in negotiations, there was no point in catering to the most conservative House members because they would never vote for the spending bill anyway. And sure enough, 86 Republicans, mostly from the hard right, bucked their leadership and opposed the measure. It “does not offer drastic spending cuts,” explained one of them, Joe Walsh of Illinois.
Of course it's not all good news. GOPers won some awful concessions. There were cruel cuts to discretionary spending that protects the public commons and the working class poor. The cruelest of all being a 25% cut in winter fuel assistance. But as Steve said:
Given what far-right congressional Republicans wanted out of this agreement and didn’t get, it’s not a bad omnibus. It would have been infinitely better had Americans not elected the most right-wing House in modern history, but under the circumstances, there’s reason to feel satisfied.
Not sure satisfied is the right word. But I am relieved it wasn't worse. So there's that...

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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