Friday, November 18, 2005

This is how they do--Re House bills passed in the middle of the night

House Approves Spending Reductions

Apparently "Great Expectations" and the dumping of ANWR overcame the moderate Republicans' objections to the bill in the "early morning hours'.

When I write late at night, which the early morning hours certainly are, I have to check my work in the morning. (I feel sorry for the EST morning readers.)

A certain fuzz takes over the brain that makes it hard to think clearly. Yet the Congress keeps passing bills that have been reworked just minutes before in the 'early morning hours'.

The House narrowly approved a broad five-year budget plan early this morning that squeezes programs for the poor, for college students and for farmers, handing Republican leaders a hard-fought victory after weeks of resistance in GOP ranks.


Republicans salvaged the win this time only by jettisoning one of President Bush's top domestic priorities, opening Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, then trimming planned cuts to food stamps, Medicaid and student lunch programs. Those changes pared back the measure's savings by more than $4 billion, and moderate Republicans say they expect the final version will be cut back further in negotiations with the Senate.


Republicans regrouped hours later to bring the budget bill to a vote after a round of last-ditch meetings won over just enough balking GOP moderates.

How bad can it be?

Now House and Senate negotiators must reach an agreement on two very different deficit-reduction plans. The Senate's version saves $35 billion over five years, particularly targeting managed-care companies in the Medicare program and largely avoiding direct cuts to the beneficiaries of antipoverty programs. It also includes a provision to allow oil firms into Alaska's Arctic refuge, a measure that powerful Senate Republicans have vowed to defend.

The House measure would cut about 220,000 people off food stamps, allow states to impose new costs on Medicaid beneficiaries, squeeze student lenders, cut aid to state child-support enforcement programs and trim farm supports.

The usual method is for the Republican leadership to take the worst of the measures in each bill from the Senate and House to make the conference bill, and then ram that through a vote --often, again, in the "early morning hours".

I wouldn't be surprised if 'ANWR' passed after all in the conference bill vote.

Meanwhile another article in today's Washington Post reports that the government is sending billions off to foreign governments like Indonesia and Uzbekistan (okay, after our buddies in Tashkent killed 500 people for demonstrating we did stop payment on those checks) and 'gasp' France.

House Approves Spending Reductions


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