John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Hoping for a Better Deal

Posted on January 28, 2009

Hoping for a Better Deal


            The national media will look at the vote on the stimulus and accuse House Republicans of being partisan.


            They will say that those darn right-wingers just don’t get it.  They will hint that the GOP just doesn’t respect Obama.  They will complain that Obama went the extra mile to court them, went up to the Hill to see them, even invited them up to the White House for cocktails. 


            This vote had nothing to do with Barack Obama.  It  had everything to do with a House Majority unhinged.


            David Obey and Nancy Pelosi, so drunk with power and so eager to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to rapidly expand the government, simply overreached and then dared the Republicans to vote no.


            They made the absurd claim that since they won the election, they could do anything they wanted, no matter how stupid the policy was.


            They tried to sneak money in for condoms and other contraceptives, but had to pull it out.


            They tried to jam money to resod the National Mall, but had to pull it out.


            Obey tried to take care of his son, who is a lobbyist for a National Parks Group.  I don’t think he pulled that out.


            Even stalwart Democratic budget analyst Alice Rivlin thought that the Democrats overreached.  She said the number was too big, and that her friends should just focus on stimulus.


            The tax cuts were a joke, with a huge portion of them scored as direct spending. 


            The CBO said that only 8 percent of this money would be spent this year.  Only 3 percent of the money would go to highway funding. 


            Some estimates said that each job created or protected would cost the taxpayers slightly more than a quarter million dollars.  Doesn’t sound very efficient to me.


            That didn’t stop every government agency from here to Timbuktu from coming to Washington with their wildest wish list. 


            Despite all of that pressure, this bill was so bad, not one Republican voted for it.  Not one.  You can usually find a few Republicans who will vote for just about any spending bill that has money for their districts.  This was an Appropriations bill for chrissakes.  Appropriations bills usually have a good chunk of Republicans.    But no Republican appropriator voted for it.


            This bill also didn’t include a tax increase, which is the usual reason Republicans walk away from big budget packages. 


            Despite all of that pressure, all of that money and all of those giveaways, the Republicans held firm.  11 Democrats, who were equally dismayed by this unseemly spending spree, joined them. 


            Republicans have done what they had to do on this very bad bill.  It might not be the best political vote short-term, but it was the right policy vote.  And by voting en masse, House Republicans hopefully sent a strong message to their Senate brethren to hold fast and cut a better deal for the American taxpayer.