In the next hour or so, Republicans are poised to kill a bill that would provide much needed aid to states (“which would save thousands police officers and firefighters from getting laid off”) and funding for teachers (“which would help states retain 130,000 K-12 teachers”).
This is a bill that’s fully paid for, partly by making cuts in the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps). Because that’s what it was going to take to get Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe on board. Except that now the smart money says they are probably not going to be boarding, after all, ha-ha!
Since the bill is fully paid for, deficit fervor cannot be invoked to explain why Republicans unanimously plan to oppose the bill. So why exactly are they doing it?
It may be pique over the unwillingness of Democrats to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy.
Or it may be that, at this point, the only virtue Senate Republicans have left to cling to is consistency. So they are determined to consistently oppose anything and everything that might help the economy. And to put the full force of their caucus behind everything that might force it into another severe recession, exactly like the one that we still haven’t finished recovering from, in that it would result from following exactly the same failed Bush-era economic policies that got us into the ditch in the first place.
*** Update, Wednesday August 4, 9:36 a.m. ***
The cloture vote scheduled for Monday evening was postponed at the last minute when the CBO’s scoring determined that the bill wasn’t fully financed, there being a shortfall of $5 billion.
This morning, both Collins and Snowe voted against the filibuster, as did Ben Nelson, and so the cloture motion passed 61 to 38.
Presumably, it was the principle of if-you-carry-an-umbrella-it-won’t-rain that kicked in to salvage the amendment. Only the joint efforts of all the people who said it didn’t look like Collins and Snowe were going to support the amendment made them end up supporting it.