How the Spendulus Bill Could Still Fail

Byron York explains how, although unlikely, the Spendulus, Porkulus, Socialist Generational Theft Act of 2009 could still fail.

Most reporting on the stimulus is based on the assumption that, since there is now a deal in the Senate, the bill will ultimately pass. That is still the most likely possibility, given the big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. But it could still be a squeaker — and it could still fail.

Here’s the situation. There are 58 Democratic senators. (There would be 59 if they had Al Franken, but they don’t.) There are 41 Republicans. (There would be 42 if they had Norm Coleman, but they don’t.) Sixty are needed to stop a filibuster. The current Senate bill has the support of three Republicans: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter. So with the support of all 58 Democrats, there are a total of 61 votes to move the stimulus bill forward. I’m told that all three Republicans are unchangeably committed to voting in favor of moving the bill forward this evening.

But here is the hitch. The bill will of course then go on to the House-Senate conference. I am told that when the (changed) stimulus bill returns to the Senate from conference, almost certainly with more spending than is in the current Senate version, it will have to pass a second 60-vote hurdle. So what happens if House-added spending causes one or more of the three Republican supporters to withdraw support?I think it is unlikely the bill will come out of conference bigger simply because it is so freaking big now that even Democrats should be able to resist the urge to pile more onto it. Democrats have seen the public outcry over this thing too and they know that if they don’t overreach they will get their wish list. You never know though. Keep making your voices heard. It ain’t over til it’s over.

Cloture vote on Spendulus bill : 61-36
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