Reid scavenging for votes

posted at 9:34 am on February 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Can Harry Reid deliver sixty votes in the Senate on Porkulus?  Apparently, not even Reid can answer that question.  According to CNN, Ted Kennedy is too ill to return for the vote, and that means one vote lost from the previous tally could kill the Obama-Pelosi-Reid omnibus stimulus-spending bill:

CNN has learned that one day after securing an agreement on a giant economic stimulus bill that is expected to pass narrowly with the votes of three moderate Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling other Republican centrists trying to persuade more of them to vote for the measure.

He’s looking for additional votes out of an abundance of caution, an aide explained, after learning that ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy, who returned to Capitol Hill for votes earlier this week, has now gone back to Florida to continue his recovery from brain cancer and won’t be here for a final vote on the stimulus bill in the coming days.

With Kennedy here, the Senate version of the bill passed 61-37 – just one vote more than needed.

The math was obvious even last week.  Without at least three Republicans, the bill will die on a procedural vote.  That has already created some hard feelings among House Democrats, who reportedly got rolled in conference this week:

Leading House Democrats were smiling on Thursday, but some of them are furious with the Senate on its handling of the economic stimulus bill.

Even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised the $789 billion conference legislation, talks between the chambers have clearly left some battle scars.

And House Democrats are vowing that from now on, things will be different.

“We will tell the Senate Democratic leadership to let the GOP filibuster,” a House leadership aide said. “The House is not going to move on what the Senate passes and give in during conference like we have been doing.

None of this would have been necessary had Pelosi invited the Republicans to help draft the bill in the first place.  There were plenty of Republicans who would have supported a big-spending plan, balanced with the right kinds of tax cuts and incentives.  Had Pelosi done that, the resulting stimulus bill would have already sailed through Congress with wide bipartisan margins.  Her failure to act responsibly in the beginning has been the reason for all of the problems that followed.

Now Reid has to scrounge up more Republicans, but with Gregg publicly rejected the stimulus last night and rejoining the Senate, he may have trouble holding the three he already has.  Reid knows it, too — otherwise, he wouldn’t bother looking for more.  If Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, or Olympia Snowe change their minds, Reid winds up with an embarrassing loss, and Pelosi has to go back to the drawing board.


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Cornyn surprised me… he better shape up…..

CynicalOptimist on February 13, 2009 at 10:13 AM
Cornyn voted against. What are your concerns?

publiuspen on February 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Sorry… my bad… I ADDed…. my brain was thinking of his support of our illustrious IRS-in-Chief….

CynicalOptimist on February 13, 2009 at 10:26 AM

hawksruleva on February 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Lieberman has been pretty strenuous in support of the bill. The time for peeling blue dogs has past. Mccnonnell should have dont this from the very beginning. We should also have put pressure on the Blue Dogs not just concentrate on the three turncoats.

promachus on February 13, 2009 at 10:26 AM

“We will tell the Senate Democratic leadership to let the GOP filibuster,” a House leadership aide said. “The House is not going to move on what the Senate passes and give in during conference like we have been doing.”

Bring in the cots.

getalife on February 13, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Too bad his staff probably won’t pass that message to him.

Tim Burton on February 13, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Don’t tell the staff Specter will be out of a job: that won’t get passed on.

Tell the Staff Person that they will be out of a job if their boss votes for this and the backlash votes him out of offive next year. That will get their attention.

Yoop on February 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

“US Senator Arlen Specter
228 Walnut Street
Room 1104, Federal Building
Harrisburg , PA 17101
Main: 717-782-3951

Dear Senator Specter,

Please vote “no” on ending debate on the Stimulus bill, and also vote “no” if the final bill comes to a vote.

It’s my understanding that the bill still contains the language about Federal tracking of medical records and the empowerment Federal interference in doctors’ medical decisions. You said you would vote against the bill if it contained this language.

The bill also contains billions in funding for “broadband services”. I make a living working as a contractor for private sector companies that provide wireless internet services. I do not want any of my tax money being used to subsidize Government competition for the private companies I work for.

The bill has also been inadequately debated. It requires too much borrowing in the name of future generations. Much of the spending consists of pork projects, and much of the spending will take several years to occur. This means it’s not stimulus at all, but just old fashioned Big Government spending.

I would not be opposed to a stimulus bill consisting of tax rebates for people who actually pay taxes or an immediate tax holiday of several months for everyone including businesses.”

for hand delivery

forest on February 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I have a question…. Why doesn’t McConnell force the clerks to read this whole monstrosity out loud before the vote? We’d finally get to hear what’s in it, we’d probably buy ourselves 10 or 12 more hours, and we’d drive Reid insane. At this point, what other option does the GOP really have? This should be discussed legitimately.

Mayhem on February 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

If Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, or Olympia Snowe change their minds, Reid winds up with an embarrassing loss, and Pelosi has to go back to the drawing board.

Please God, let this happen!

DrStock on February 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans are banding together once again and leaders now expect to lose at most 8 members on the final stimulus bill, after losing 0 the first time. Just two days ago, leaders had feared 20 or more defections. Top aide: “The Democrats overreached.”

From Politico. House GOP solidarity is crumbling.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Spector was on TV saying they’d get that kill-the-elders stuff out of the bill, and to my understanding, they have not.

He made a big deal about making a “commitment” to the Democrats – well, this commitment to the American people regarding the health care was later, and therefore trumps his earlier one.

GET SPECTOR.

Alana on February 13, 2009 at 10:14 AM

This would mean a lot to Specter personally–he is a cancer survivor! If there had been a “health czar” telling doctors whom to save and whom to let die, he would be dead now! And he was shocked in an interview with Megyn Kelly to learn, AFTER he voted for the earlier Senate bill, about the “health-czar” provision because he hadn’t read it!

I recall Sessions (or DeMint?) stopped amnesty once by refusing to waive reading of the bill. I hope someone in the GOP senate caucus has the backbone to do this.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 9:43 AM

This could be the way to stop the bill. If a group of conservative Senators insists on a reading of a 1,071-page bill, it would take several days, and give opponents more time to get the word out, and give Snarlin’ Arlen and the Maine Plain Janes an education about this massive blank check.

Specter is probably the best chance to flip a GOP vote. Collins has been wowed by the media attention, but she seems to open mouth before engaging her brain. Snowe falls in winter, and it is February–who knows?

Steve Z on February 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

I have a question…. Why doesn’t McConnell force the clerks to read this whole monstrosity out loud before the vote? We’d finally get to hear what’s in it, we’d probably buy ourselves 10 or 12 more hours, and we’d drive Reid insane. At this point, what other option does the GOP really have? This should be discussed legitimately.

Mayhem on February 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

He was previously on record as not plannihg any delaying tactics. He probably is too squishy to change.

However, I think any Senator can ask this and either DeMint or Sessions stopped one amnesty attempt with this manuever.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM

On the other hand, Obambi has been telling everyone who will listen that the world will end if this bill is not passed. Catastrophe has been his mildest prediction.

If the worst that happens is that things don’t get better for a few months, will it really be that bad for the Republicans?

MarkTheGreat on February 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Don’t those 8 members know that they will be chased with pitchforks? To get rid of senators might be messy but congressmen should be easy targets.

promachus on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Steve Z on February 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Collins was just re-elected in 2008, and Snowe in 2006. Arlen is up in 2010. He is the best chance to flip.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Obama may be facing, not Gettysburg, but, Waterloo.
Any member of Congress who votes on a bill of this magnitude and consequence, without a thorough critical reading, will be held accountable by conservatives where possible.
Elections have consequences and it’s clear (to me at least) that the President and his followers in Congress intend to (insert here!) overwhelm the opposition before an effective ideological defense can be mounted.
The “Bipartisanship” of the Campaign was a feint, followed by “I won.”, and a flurry of congressional votes that may bankrupt the nation, or at least do some grievous harm.
They have also signaled a renewal of talks with Muslim nations based on America’s return to her “ideals”, ie, “We reject the foreign policies of the previous Administration and apologize where necessary. Now we’re reaching out with an open and humble hand.” Again, the loyal opposition has been outflanked, and Israel hangs in the balance.
Wake up Americans. 2010 isn’t that far away in terms of “hope and change”.
Meanwhile “… we’ll fight them on the beaches ….”.

Randy

williars on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

All we need is for things to start improving on their own prior to 2010. This recession has already just about run it’s course.

MarkTheGreat on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Don’t those 8 members know that they will be chased with pitchforks? To get rid of senators might be messy but congressmen should be easy targets.

promachus on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Not if they’re in purple districts. One might be Gerlach, who is my rep in suburban Philly. He only wins because his district goes way out to Chester County and pulls in more rural voters.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:38 AM

All we need is for things to start improving on their own prior to 2010. This recession has already just about run its course.

MarkTheGreat on February 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

If the stimulus passes, Obama will just take credit for the improvement and the MSM will push this meme.

What we need is no stimulus, and the economy improving as part of the natural recession cycle.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Specter, who endorses the view that doing anything(even if wrong) is better than doing nothing, is clearly an idiot.

He will vote for anything put before him and well before he reads the first of the 1000+ pages (if he reads at all).

I just hope Fox News will start labeling an idiot just that. People like Specter do not deserve any respect.

Birdseye on February 13, 2009 at 10:46 AM

Glenn Thrush at Politico reports that:

“A devilishly clever last-minute insert to the House version of the stimulus bill has made it through the conference report — a requirement that governors spend their stimulus allocations within 45 days.

The provision isn’t likely to have a real-world impact, but it forces Republican governors who opposed the stimulus (e.g. South Carolina’s Mark Sanford) and many other GOP governors who sat on the fence for fear of bucking their party — to publicly accept or decline the aid. And when they do accept it — and it’s hard to see a scenario where they wouldn’t given their deficits — Democrats get to call them craven or hypocritical or both.

In the unlikely event they do reject the money, authority for spending the cash would revert to State legislatures, who would likely be under even more political pressure to spend it than chief executives.

“Our governor has repeatedly expressed political and philosophical aversion to using federal assistance as we work our way out of the economic conditions that are visiting significant difficulties upon businesses and families throughout our beloved state,” Clyburn said after the House vote.”

Hardball.

getalife on February 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Senator’s don’t know how to do searches on text files?????

MarkTheGreat on February 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

http://www.nostimulus.com

Badbrucskie on February 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

If Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, or Olympia Snowe change their minds, Reid winds up with an embarrassing loss, and Pelosi has to go back to the drawing board.

If this doesn’t happen, I think God has officially abandoned the US. It’s all on us now.

bilups on February 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

While there is a political risk for the Republicans if they defeat this bill and the economy doesn’t recover. But that risk only appears if the economy doesn’t recover, and that is very, very unlikely.

There is also a huge political risk for the Republicans if this bill passes and the economy does recover. Obama and the media will loudly and frequently proclaim that the only reason we aren’t eating sticks and twigs is because of their bill. Which will mean that the Republicans will have no choice but to vote for anything and everything Barry proposes from now on.

There’s also a risk if this bill passes and the economy doesn’t recover. Then all of Washington will be in the crosshairs of some very angry citizens, who will want to know why they are paying ever higher taxes, yet the economy continues to sink.

MarkTheGreat on February 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

In the unlikely event they do reject the money, authority for spending the cash would revert to State legislatures, who would likely be under even more political pressure to spend it than chief executives.

“Our governor has repeatedly expressed political and philosophical aversion to using federal assistance as we work our way out of the economic conditions that are visiting significant difficulties upon businesses and families throughout our beloved state,” Clyburn said after the House vote.”

Hardball.

getalife on February 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

I saw this at Human Events. This language is clearly and very specifically aimed at Sanford. Give him 45 days to accept the money (under what would be impossible public pressure) and then, if he doesn’t, give power to accept to the state legislature. House Whip? Mr. Clyburn from the South Carolina lowcountry, it almost ensures that South Carolina will take the money rammed down their throats regardless of if they want it by swapping out a governor for the state legislature.

Constitutional violation? Maybe, my friends and I are tackling this now. Since SC’s budget is set by a 1950 law creating the Budget and Control Board, does this conflict with the 10th amendment? Anyone with constitutional law experience know?

LastRick on February 13, 2009 at 10:59 AM

I have a question…. Why doesn’t McConnell force the clerks to read this whole monstrosity out loud before the vote? We’d finally get to hear what’s in it, we’d probably buy ourselves 10 or 12 more hours, and we’d drive Reid insane. At this point, what other option does the GOP really have? This should be discussed legitimately.

Mayhem on February 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Aye to that. Isn’t it just a tad bit insane that these people can get away with voting for something they haven’t even read? I wouldn’t try that with my employer lest it jump up and bite me in the a$$ later. These people act like they could care less. sigh.

scalleywag on February 13, 2009 at 11:12 AM

I am sure this will pass noone has time to read it and Nancy wants to go to Rome. Hopefully they will keep her there. UGH!

Brat4life on February 13, 2009 at 11:16 AM

I thought I heard Huckabee say this morning on Fox News that the three turncoats were actually going to vote against the stimulus. Can anyone confirm?

ice princess on February 13, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Please, Republican senators, vote against this bill. We have made it out of recessions before and we will again. The worst American recession was the Great Depression-the one where the government intervened and tried to “help.” I would rather endure a recession than a massive government debt and further infantilizing of our people.

Stop the madness. Vote NO!

PattyJ on February 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM

If Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, or Olympia Snowe change their minds, Reid winds up with an embarrassing loss, and Pelosi has to go back to the drawing board.

If this doesn’t happen, I think God has officially abandoned the US. It’s all on us now.

bilups on February 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

My sense is that he’s grown tired of watching the same act over and over. He’s nudging us to move on to the next act.

JiangxiDad on February 13, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Clyburn is a tool. Sanford should call his bluff and turn down the money. Haley Barbour may turn it down too – he said so to Neil Cavuto last week.

rockmom on February 13, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Nancy Pelosi f’ed up this thing. House Republicans should stay strong and make her take the blame for it turning into a train wreck.

Jim Gerlach doesn’t need to vote for this right now. He can easily say that he is perfectly willing to vote for a bill AFTER he has had some time to read it, discuss its ACTUAL CONTENTS with his constituents and understand how will or will not help them, etc.

The Philadelphia area reps had better be careful about this. The stealth provisions on health care could be ruinous to the economy here.

rockmom on February 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

If you have trouble with the form, here are a few email addresses and fax lines you can use…

DC phone: (202) 224-4254
DC fax: (202) 228-1229
Harrisburg phone: (717) 782-3951
Harrisburg fax: (717) 782-4920
Emails to contact:
Scott_Hoeflich@specter.senate.gov
Maria_Plakoudas@specter.senate.gov
Christopher_Bradish@specter.senate.gov
thomas_dower@specter.senate.gov
seema_singh@specter.senate.gov
corene_ashley@specter.senate.gov
regina_campbell@specter.senate.gov
gayle_mills@specter.senate.gov

crashland on February 13, 2009 at 12:15 PM

I thought I heard Huckabee say this morning on Fox News that the three turncoats were actually going to vote against the stimulus. Can anyone confirm?

ice princess on February 13, 2009 at 11:23 AM

No. But we have to watch out for retiring RINOs flipping – Martinez and Voinovich come to mind. They could be the deciding votes and give the GOP Three cover to flip back. Can’t think of a third retiree right now.

Wethal on February 13, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I am sure this will pass noone has time to read it and Nancy wants to go to Rome. Hopefully they will keep her there. UGH!

Brat4life on February 13, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Someone please tell me that they are still holding “games” in Rome replete with Gladiator and Christians being fed to lions? After all, Nancy is a member in good standing of the Catholic Church. Someone call ahead and give them a “head’s up”…

sabbott on February 13, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Martinez is my Senator. Dated 02/12 his website has this speech he gave (scroll down):

So with great regret is that I will not be able to support this package. And now I look forward to seeing the final outcome come because we have not all read the bill yet. And when I do read it, I will again analyze it to see if the component parts are there in a way that will allow me to support it. But unfortunately it appears clear to from the information we have on the package that will, in fact, not be the case.

He’s obviously not going to have time to read it unless they vote next week!! I’ve called several numbers to confirm, but haven’t been able to reach anyone yet.

INC on February 13, 2009 at 12:30 PM

I was finally able to get an answer at an instate office in Tampa, after trying Orlando and Jacksonville. The person who answered the phone confirmed that Martinez will vote NO. I told her to tell him THANK YOU!

INC on February 13, 2009 at 12:34 PM

re: the recession getting better in 2 years. while many things might improve, can any one see how the DowJones, stock market, can soar back to 13,000 in 2 years? and that is the engine that drives this economy in many respects. plus, it is retirement money for employees.

kelley in virginia on February 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM

According to CNN, Ted Kennedy is too ill to return for the vote, and that means one vote lost from the previous tally…

Explain that, atheists.

;)

Tzetzes on February 13, 2009 at 2:19 PM

It appears that Obama’s worst enemies are in his own Party. I wonder what means he will use to rid himself of Pelosi and Reid.

jeanie on February 13, 2009 at 2:41 PM

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