Mitch McConnell Doubles Down on Harry Reid

posted at 10:01 am on April 29, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Yesterday we discussed the strategic move by Harry Reid as he prepared to call a vote on the Ryan plan in an effort to split wavering Republicans away from the pack. Rather than running from the challenge, it appears that Mitch McConnell is throwing a gauntlet of his own right back in the Majority Leader’s face.

A day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) put Republicans on the spot by saying he will bring the House Republicans’ budget proposal up for a vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) turned the tables by exercising his legislative prerogative to call for a vote on President Barack Obama’s budget.

The two votes amount to legislative brinkmanship by both party leaders. Mr. Reid wants to put Republicans on record supporting legislation authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) that would eventually transform Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. McConnell, meanwhile, wants to force Democrats to vote on a plan that rolls back Bush-era tax cuts for people who make more than $250,000 and ignores many of the long-term costs driving the deficit.

Some fiscal conservatives will doubtless be cheering this development, while many others are doubtless responding with a hearty, “Huh? What? The President has a budget plan?”

In any event, the intent seems clear. If Harry Reid wants to pin down every Republican senator on entitlement reform, McConnell is determined to use this procedural motion to pin down the Democrats on raising taxes. The only question is, will it work?

Pollsters have been asking this question throughout the entire budget debate, back in January and as recently as this month, and the Democrats’ “tax the rich” message still seems to be selling well in the heartland. Regardless of the economic realities on needing to encourage job growth, they don’t call it a populist message for nothing.

It’s a bold move by McConnell, and could still pay off big dividends. But the GOP has a lot of work ahead in getting the word out to voters in an easy to digest fashion. If they fail in that effort, this could still backfire on them.


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McConnell – you old horse – did not know you had the stones!!!

jake-the-goose on April 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Hell I say let the Dems have it, we need to just stand aside with our hands behind our backs and allow the Dems to raise taxes to whatever level they like…and then calmly smile and say I told you so when the economy completely tanks and food and fuel prices reach a point where all these liberals socialists communists are starving in the streets.

BadMojo on April 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Where’s my Mitch’s?

WashJeff on April 29, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Since all spending bills must originate in the House, how can the Senate vote on President Obama’s budget? I don’t recall it coming up for a vote and passing.

Numbuh One on April 29, 2011 at 10:10 AM

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. … It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.”

This was the guy that many Americans thought they had voted for President in 2008

J_Crater on April 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Still playing games instead of fixing what’s broken. Meanwhile our debt is spiraling out of control.

I’m sick of this political one-upmanship. Nobody in Washington is serious.

fossten on April 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Strike while the iron is hot.

Roy Rogers on April 29, 2011 at 10:19 AM

McConnell should challenge Reid to a duel, winner take all and their budget is approved.

Reid, that spindly, scabrous, animated corpse wouldn’t stand a chance.

Bishop on April 29, 2011 at 10:20 AM

The president’s plan is too nuanced and complex for the rest of us to understand.

pgrossjr on April 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I love it. It seems to me that clarity is much more important than agreement, and there’s nothing wrong with clarity on something this important. Say what you think and put it up for a vote!

The GOP thinks that raising taxes in the short term and doing nothing to curb spending in the long term will produce exactly nothing, and I agree with them. I believe that most Americans can understand simple arithmetic — not O’Bozo’s core supporters, of course, but most Americans.

Let’s find out.

Jaibones on April 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM

This was the guy that many Americans thought they had voted for President in 2008

J_Crater on April 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Uh…only the gullible nitwits.

Jaibones on April 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM

“Huh? What? The President has a budget plan?”

Does he? Is there anything in writing for them to vote on? Or will they just vote on whether or not they liked TOTUS’ speech?

forest on April 29, 2011 at 10:29 AM

If they fail in that effort, this could still backfire on them.

No, it will backfire on the American people who will be introduced to a SECOND recession. That is if you believe the FIRST one is really over.

GarandFan on April 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Congrats on finding that spine you’ve been lacking, Mitch.

powerpro on April 29, 2011 at 10:31 AM

LOL.

Reid will back down. The White House does NOT want a vote on that budget.

Way to go, Mitch!

rockmom on April 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

We’re just getting more of the same from our elected officials – gamesmanship. The Fed just keeps printing more money and the Democrats want to just keep on spending and “tax the rich”. At least the Republicans are putting ideas forward.

Too bad these jokers can’t sit down and come up with a plan that is best for the United States.

Tax increase? It might help if the money was given to responsible legislators. Those in charge haven’t shown any inclination to being responsible legislators so I’d rather not have a tax increase until they can show they can control their spending addiction.

iamsaved on April 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Alright .. Mitch McConnell finally grew a chin.

DaydreamBeliever on April 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I’m tired of the politcal games. Does neither of these guys care one bit about fixing the problem?

unseen on April 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Anyone who stomps on that sniveling, creepy gnat is fine with me.

Keep it up.

Cody1991 on April 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I’m in the crowd that says, Huh? What? Not that it’s being shouted from the roof tops with all the debunking of birtherism, fund raising and O appearing on O.

Kissmygrits on April 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Me likey !!!

pambi on April 29, 2011 at 10:42 AM

There has to be statistics that show the number of people who make $250,000 that can split them out between those who own and run businesses and hire employees, and those that are the type of rich that populist rhetoric is popular for soaking the rich on. I would be surprised to find that there are large numbers of these detested rich (I would almost guess that the true “rich” people love to hate are pretty much in line with sports athletes and movie/tv stars) as opposed to the small business “rich”. Lets face it, the only people who are “rich” when it comes to annual income are those who work very hard, those who earn money on investments and will never be soaked by income taxes anyways, and those who get their money easily through acting and playing games, but for the gift of good genes they would never be rich.

Make a commercial that shows this ratio. Visit a whole bunch of small business people in their shops, stores and factories or whatever, (hell even show them in the process of making a new hire) and then show one of the detested rich being a jerk, then zoom out and ask the question, should all these people be punished by exhorbitent taxes in order to soak this one? I thought we were a country of fairness and a country where hard work paid off, as well as a country where people always claim that it is better to let 100 criminals go free than to imprison a single innocent.

Every time one of the “rich” speaks up and says he wants his taxes raised so he can pay his fair share. Show the difference between investment income tax rates and payday income tax and show the difference in taxes for him based on a change of income tax rates. Because this man earns all his money on investments, increasing income taxes on the “rich” will increase his taxes by about $0.02 per $10,000 in income he earns based on forbes estimates of his wealth. This man is only trying to prevent (show all the business people working hard, as well as some factory workers) these people from ever becoming rich enough to earn money the way he does.

astonerii on April 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Meanwhile, another 400,000+ jobs were lost last week, the debts and deficit grow larger….and the President, and Dems are either campaigning, sniping, or playing games.

The midwest likes the idea of raising taxes on the rich, in order to keep SS and medicare going? How stuck on stupid are these people? Regardless, if we don’t get heavy handed control on the spending, these entities along with many, many others won’t be there anywhere.

It’s make or break time people. Sacrifice now, and TRY to save these things…WITH reforms, or see them gone forever.

capejasmine on April 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM

It could backfire badly. The problem is it is possible the totally unserious budget could pass… they still have the majority. And then what? Republicans forfeit the chance to doing any cutting? And then who takes the blame for that?

But I suppose McConnel knows exactly what he is doing and knows that their is too little support for it.

petunia on April 29, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Some fiscal conservatives will doubtless be cheering this development, while many others are doubtless responding with a hearty, “Huh? What? The President has a budget plan?”

Well, does he?!?! I don’t even think there’s anything in writing, only mumblings about taxing “the rich”, whomever our boy king determines THAT to be.

Vyce on April 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Um, last I checked, the republicans are only one or two seats shy of a majority, which means that in a straight up and down vote the Ryan budget might just pass if a couple democrats feel the warm fetid breath of the electorate breathing down their necks… this may well backfire on Reid/Obama.

Rorschach on April 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Well it’s obvious that McConnell…er, uh, Reid, ummm….SOMEBODY is racist!!

TugboatPhil on April 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM

But the GOP has a lot of work ahead in getting the word out to voters in an easy to digest fashion.

Anyone been to Ryan’s “Roadmap” website?

EPIC FAIL in the “easy to digest” category.

I am hugely disappointed. The site consists of a bunch of videos of Ryan blathering on (the viewer has zero control over start/stop/playback and there is no progress meter) and then tabs directing the viewer to myriad charts, pdf documents, and thousand-word essays.

Do the ‘pubs not have anyone that can build a decent political website?

pain train on April 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Smart move by McConnell (holy shit, I never thought I’d type those words).

Doesn’t matter is taxing the rich is popular. The Dems will be on record as having voted for “tax increases”. And the ads in 2012 will be Senator such and such voted to raise taxes while gas was at $4.50. And even better since there will be 50 amendments to the bill, the ads will say – sort of truthfully – Senator such and such voted to raise taxes 50 times last year alone.

angryed on April 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM

astonerii on April 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

That’s why Seniors in hS have to take a financial literacy class.
Do you know our principal here thinks it can be done in like 2 class periods?
It’s supposed to be done over one semester.

Badger40 on April 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM

pain train on April 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM

It’s not only web sites. It’s the entire marketing of the message, online, in print media, in blogs, on cable, you name it.

Watch an MSNBC show and everything on it is co-ordinated. The guests are bloggers who then blog about the show and the issue they discussed. Then guests are radio hosts who talk about the same issue and promote the bloggers who also discuss the issue. Then it’s co-ordinated with facebook. Then another guest is from a liberal group like moveon and they use the show to call for action items. It’s non-stop, keep on message, repeat the lies until they become truths.

The GOP has nothing like this. Everyone is their own little island.

angryed on April 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Um, last I checked, the republicans are only one or two seats shy of a majority, which means that in a straight up and down vote the Ryan budget might just pass if a couple democrats feel the warm fetid breath of the electorate breathing down their necks… this may well backfire on Reid/Obama.

Rorschach on April 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Even if 1 or 2 Dems did cross over, Snowe, Collins, Kirk, McCain, Graham and last year’s GOP Wonder boy, Brown, will make sure the bill fails.

angryed on April 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Um, last I checked, the republicans are only one or two seats shy of a majority, which means that in a straight up and down vote the Ryan budget might just pass if a couple democrats feel the warm fetid breath of the electorate breathing down their necks… this may well backfire on Reid/Obama.

Rorschach on April 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Even if 1 or 2 Dems did cross over, Snowe, Collins, Kirk, McCain, Graham and last year’s GOP Wonder boy, Brown, will make sure the bill fails.

angryed on April 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM

hey a man can dream can’t he?

Rorschach on April 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

C3-PO, otherwise known as Allahpundit, can barely sleep at night fearing the results of someone standing up for truth.

leftnomore on April 29, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Only in DC would voting on the House’s budget be trapping the GOP Senate members… yes, trapping them into a position of of fiscal responsibility that was demanded by We The People in the form of a historic flip of the House of Representatives…

phreshone on April 29, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Let the Dems listen to a Dem >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEdXrfIMdiU

Elbar on April 29, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Far be it for me to be the bearer of bad tidings, but neither of these budgets solves the USG’s financial woes. Mike Shedlock at his blog has taken the time to do a full interactive comparison of the two budget proposals. Unfortunately, Obama proposes a budget which will expand the national debt by 2021 to $26.3 trillion and the Ryan budget proposal expands the national debt by 2021 to only $23.1 trillion! Sorry, I’m choked up with excitement over the slightly darker – 12% in fact – shade of gray presented by Obama. Even Ryan’s budget saddles the U.S. taxpayer with growing interest payments on approximately $400 billion annual deficits throughout the latter half of this decade. Get real people! The politicians still cannot bring themselves to “tear down this wall” of special interest-style government which they have slowly built in our nation’s capital!

boqueronman on April 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Andrew Stiles further reports:

A vote on Obama’s budget, which includes massive tax increases, does nothing to rein in entitlement costs and adds trillions to the deficit, could put Senate Democrats in an uncomfortable position as well. The president’s plan could prove too unserious for the likes of Sens. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), conservatives Democrats up for reelection in 2012, but also too “draconian” for the likes of some liberal Democrats. The vote will be a way for Republicans to set up a contrast between the two party’s positions in terms of which is more serious about tackling the deficit.

Either way, neither plan will get the 60 votes needed for passage. This is pure political theater.

Just to summarize: Harry Reid wants to have a ‘show vote’ on a Republican budget that has already been through the mark-up process and adopted by a majority of the House. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats, under the “leadership” of Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), have yet to introduce and mark up, much less vote on, a budget of their own. It would appear the two parties don’t exactly share the same priorities.

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, weighs in.

“Senator Reid has made a serious miscalculation if he believes bringing the House Republican Budget to the Senate will disadvantage Senate Republicans,” Sessions said in a statement. “Instead, he (Reid) will only draw more attention to the fact that House Republicans have presented an honest, principled budget while the Democrat-led Senate has failed to pass a budget in more than 700 days.”

More:

Senate Democrats have not even presented a resolution in the Budget Committee this year or shown any intent to do so. The only Democrat budget we can examine in the Senate is the president’s budget, which the Congressional Budget Office says doubles our nation’s entire gross debt and then lays that terrible burden upon our children. Erskin Bowles, the co-chair of the president’s own fiscal commission, said the president’s budget goes ‘nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.’ In light of our current challenges the president’s budget is the most irresponsible spending plan any president has put forward in our history.”

By contrast, the House GOP budget spends $6.2 trillion less than the president’s, taxes $2 trillion less, and makes the necessary choices today to spare our children from painful choices tomorrow. It is the most serious attempt I have seen in my career to address our long-term fiscal problems.

Given their heated rhetoric opposing spending discipline, I assume Senate Democrat leaders will happily call the president’s budget to a vote to demonstrate their support for a plan that dramatically grows our deficits and our taxes—making us less prosperous and less competitive as a result. Even the president had to back away from his own budget with a speech that alleged $4 trillion in savings but in reality doesn’t come close to that figure. His speech repeated the same gimmicks from his existing budget while offering no new reforms and no real plan to control our deficit spending. In fact, the White House has so far refused to even put their ‘framework’ on paper. This is not the honest budgeting the American people deserve.

Nonetheless, I continue to wait and hope the president and Democrat leaders will reverse course and present an honest budget. We can’t create jobs through taxes, build prosperity through debt, or win the future with borrowed money.

onlineanalyst on April 29, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Having Jim Demint as a de facto stalking horse in the Senate forces McConnell to behave like a conservative.

I don’t mind someone being late to the party, as long as he or she becomes a reliable conservative.

Nor should I because I pulled for McGovern in 1972, but only because my parents voted for Nixon.

Kudos to McConnell.

Keep up the good work, amigo.

molonlabe28 on April 29, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Having Jim Demint as a de facto stalking horse in the Senate forces McConnell to behave like a conservative.

I don’t mind someone being late to the party, as long as he or she becomes a reliable conservative.

Nor should I because I pulled for McGovern in 1972, but only because my parents voted for Nixon.

Kudos to McConnell.

Keep up the good work, amigo.

molonlabe28 on April 29, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I’m from South Dakota. You ever consider running for office? You must have a pretty big pair of brassies. Not only did you vote for McGovern, but you’ll admit it. If that’s not honesty, then there is no such thing.

gryphon202 on April 29, 2011 at 2:06 PM

No wonder Trump called all the ‘leaders’ “stupid” in Vegas.

Schadenfreude on April 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM

ABOUT TIME!!!

Stick the dragon’s tail in its mouth and invite it to bite hard!!!

landlines on April 29, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Still playing games instead of fixing what’s broken. Meanwhile our debt is spiraling out of control.

I’m sick of this political one-upmanship. Nobody in Washington is serious.

fossten on April 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM

How naive of you…for thousands of years this is how government, business, and war works.
You maneuver to get the upper hand…whine all you want, the adults have been doing this since the beginning of time.

right2bright on April 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

I think the proper term for this is: Reid just got btch slapped…

right2bright on April 29, 2011 at 2:41 PM

How naive of you…for thousands of years this is how government, business, and war works.
You maneuver to get the upper hand…whine all you want, the adults have been doing this since the beginning of time.

right2bright on April 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Your blind trust of the GOP establishment is what’s naive.

fossten on April 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

…the adults have been doing this since the beginning of time.

right2bright on April 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

A lot of “adults” have ended up without their heads or at the end of a rope since the beginning of time too. They just have to push the “children” too far, too often.

TugboatPhil on April 29, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Um, last I checked, the republicans are only one or two seats shy of a majority…

Rorschach

Might want to check again….the Dems hold the senate 53-47.

How naive of you…for thousands of years this is how government, business, and war works.
You maneuver to get the upper hand…whine all you want, the adults have been doing this since the beginning of time.

right2bright

How’s that working out for us? We’re trillions in debt, on the verge of bankruptcy, and stuck in three wars we have no interest in winning. By all means, let’s maintain the status quo.

xblade on April 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

the Democrats’ “tax the rich” message still seems to be selling well in the heartland.

Gee, you’re not Ed or Allah, are you? I thought the heartland wasn’t buying anything, from anybody, right now.

rwenger43 on April 30, 2011 at 12:50 AM

I think people are starting to get the message that entitlements are breaking the government, and that government promises can’t be relied on. Unless that happens, we’re not going to have a government much longer.

flataffect on April 30, 2011 at 6:38 PM