Vice President Joe Biden says Democrats are not in favor of tax cuts:
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Sunday that he believed that the stimulus package would ultimately pass with “fairly strong vote across the board.” “If you notice, roughly 40 percent of this entire package is tax cuts,” the vice president said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “That’s not what the Democrats wanted. And 60 percent of it is spending, economic stimulus. That’s not what the Republicans wanted. But we’ve come a pretty long way already. So there will be, I’m sure, more compromise.”
Biden, in his trademark “ready, fire, aim” style, seemingly tosses a major plank of the Obama campaign (tax cuts for the middle class) out the window on his first weekend news show appearance as Vice President. That gaffe didn’t take long. But wait, it gets better.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can’t seem to get her head around the concept of reduced spending:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” said that the assistance to states was necessary, including the family-planning funds.
“The family-planning services reduce cost,” she said. “The states are in terrible fiscal budget crisis now, and part of it, what we do for children’s health, education, and some of those elements, are to help the states meet their financial needs.”
So, according to Speaker Pelosi’s math, if the states don’t spend the money but the federal government does, that represents a net savings? For whom, Madam Speaker?
More worrisome is the question of the Republican’s willingness to vote no along party lines against this spending debacle. House Minority Leader John Boehner said today:
“Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all of the spending in this package, we don’t think it’s going to work,” the House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And so if it’s the plan that I see today, put me down in the no column.”
Republicans in the House can send a strong message to voters and their base by opposing this spending plan; they can also send a clear message to President Obama that they will not give him any political cover for this dangerous legislation.
Predictably, Senator McCain made his obligatory appearance today to say he is opposed to the stimulus package:
While the plan can potentially pass the Democratic-dominated House without Republican support, it will continue to face opposition when it comes before the Senate, said Senator John McCain of Arizona, speaking on “Fox News Sunday.” At least two Republicans will need to approve the bill for a filibuster-proof majority vote of 60.
Senator McCain, who lost the presidential election to Mr. Obama in November, said that he planned to vote no unless the bill were changed.
“We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there’ll be no new taxes,” Mr. McCain said. “We need to cut payroll taxes. We need to cut business taxes.”
It remains to be seen if Senator McCain is serious about what he says or if he plans to use the proposed unprecedented level of federal spending as a springboard to go mavericky on the conservative base again. I wouldn’t lay my bet on the Senate Republicans but rather go with the House and Boehner. Reform starts at the base and the base is in the House of Representatives.
Conservatives can draw some encouragement from the eaxamples of Pelosi and Biden that a well articulated argument in favor of the stimulus spending has yet to emerge.