As you have probably heard, the House version of the stimulus bill, with the infrastructure funding attached, passed Wednesday by a vote of 244-188. The bill included a last-minute amendment by Reps. DeFazio of Oregon and Nadler of New York to add an additional $4.5 billion dollars to the package, including $3 billion for rail and mass transit projects. The Senate takes up its version on Monday.
Thanks to House Minority Leader John Boehner’s continued cries that Republicans should stick to their small-government guns and ignore the will of the VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, no Republicans voted for the bill. By doing this, Boehner is making a fairly substantial gamble…and the fate of the Republican Party likely hangs in the balance.
There are several caveats that will have to be met for Boehner’s gamble to pay dividends for the Republican Party:
- A unified alternative will need to be put forth by the GOP. According to an article in today’s LA Times, the Republicans are anti-Obama’s massive spending on infrastructure and related projects, but have yet to come up with a unified front of what to do instead, so that they’ll have actions to point at should the infrastructure plan fail. If you’re a Republican, you have to hope that Boehner, Palin, or new GOP chair Michael Steele (elected earlier today) will be able to rally the GOP behind a single issue.
- Bipartisanship will have to fail. Despite the vote in the House, there’s still a pretty good chance that some GOPs will support Barack on the infrastructure package before the bill creeps to its inevitable passage, either from moderate Republican Senators who come from centrist or Democratic states (Olympia Snowe being the most likely culprit), or in either house after the bill has been altered in conference committee. If Obama gets GOP support, he can tout that he has changed the culture in Washington at least somewhat, thereby fulfilling his main campaign promise.
- They will have to run a governor on the GOP presidential ticket in 2012. No way will any legislator obstructionist to the infrastructure package have any chance in hell against perhaps the most popular and unifying man in the history of the world, excluding Jesus Christ.
- And this is the hard one: HOPE THAT THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL FAILS. The Republicans are already banking on this, as they are running an ad slamming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whom they hope to pick off in 2010, for supporting the infrastructure bill. If the bill fails to get us out of the recession, Obama will look like an idiot and the GOP will take back Congress and the White House right? WRONG!!!! As with FDR, if Obama makes by creating SOME jobs and refitting our infrastructure, people will re-elect him even if the recession doesn’t end. Of course, as with the post-New Deal era, Republicans will probably eventually regain control of Congress…it just will take two decades for it to happen, and two generations to stick.
Here’s more coverage on the stimulus issue, for your viewing pleasure
- From National Public Radio
- From the LA Times
- From the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
- From the Deanist blog mydd.com
Oh, and one more thing…
Congratulations to the next President of Occidental College, Jonathan Veitch!!!!!!