An Agreement Missing One Side?

Bizarre at best:

Senate negotiators announced on Wednesday an agreement on a $789 billion economic stimulus bill, apparently clearing the way for final Congressional action and President Obama’s signature. But House conferees were not so quick to endorse the package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not present at the news conference, even though Mr. Reid praised her effusively for her role in the talks, and House Democrats were reportedly holding out for some changes important to them, including more money for school renovations. Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the Speaker, said later that “I think we’re moving very rapidly toward making an announcement of a deal.”

Um, okaay.

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    AHA!!!! the house fights back (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 03:58:30 PM EST
    from the note

    The deal was to be made official at a joint House-Senate conference committee meeting at 3 p.m. ET. Several members of the committee showed up. The cameras were rolling. Staff filled the room. So did reporters.

    Then the meeting has been postponed.

    The problem: Liberals in the House are objecting to the amount of money in the bill for school construction -- apparently significantly less than either the $79 billion approved by the House or the $39 billion approved by the Senate.

    Another problem: some House Democrats say the bill gives states too much discretion on how to use some of the money intended for education.

    Some Senate Democrats are unhappy, too. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says there is just not enough money in the bill for school construction.

    "Every school in America will get 10,000 bucks if they're lucky," Harkin said, guessing that might be enough to buy two energy-efficient windows.

    "And what's that going to do for them?" he asked. "We're trying to add new heating facilities. We're trying to add renovations. And doing it by formula doesn't do it."

    Harkin says he'd ultimately vote for it, but he doesn't like the concessions made to get the support of the moderate Republicans.

    "I'm just dismayed at the process," Harkin said.  "I think that we on our side caved in too much in order to appease a few people. I just think we should have held strong on some of these things and seen if we could have passed it. If not, then you come back and try to fix it."

    All signs suggest that this will be worked out. But right now: impasse.

    maroons (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:03:25 PM EST
     how the hell did they take MORE away from education?? they took it form a 40b cut by centrists in the GOP all the way down to 6 million for school construction and leave in AMT and think thats great and lets celebrate??

    harry reid is an incompetent buffoon who led the conference


    One of the longest standing (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:16:47 PM EST
    GOP articles of faith is that the federal government should stay totally out of any role in public education.  Not entirely why they've always been so fierce about it, but maybe a side effect of having lost the battles on integration (back when a lot of the Southern pols were Democrats) and prayer in the schools.

    One of their big signature things has been to abolish the U.S. Dept. of Eduction altogether.


    exactly as you say (none / 0) (#26)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:42:46 PM EST
    form politico, tjrish again:

    The stimulus compromise contains a split-the-baby deal on education funding that includes a partial restoration of $21 billion in school construction funding axed by the Senate.

    Funding construction was the White House's number-one priority in reconciling both stimulus bills.

    Instead of addressing construction independently, the conferees rolled it into a meta-education allocation -- to (technically) satisty GOP objections to creating a precedent for federal involvement in building schools, a time-honored local obligation.

    The House proposed a combined $79 billion for schools; The Senate $39 billion.

    The final number for construction and instruction splits the uprights at $54 billion.

    I think the article is wrong (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:49:19 PM EST
    The reporter seems to be confusing two seperate items in the bill:  a state stabilization fund (much of which would go to schools) and school construction.

    The House had state stabilization at $79 billion; Senate had it at $39 billion.  Looks like they may have gotten it to the $44-45 range.

    House had (I think) $16 billion for school construction.  Senate cut that to nothing.  Now is at about $6 billion.


    N.Y.T. Lead (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:09:12 PM EST
    "The package would PARE BACK Democrats' proposed spending on EDUCATION and HEALTH IN FAVOR OF TAX CUTS needed to win Republican votes in the Senate." [emphasis added]

    McCaskill is thrilled, millions of average Americans to suffer.

    I am just so proud to call myself a Democrat.

    I'm glad the House Dems are holding out (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:10:20 PM EST
    though I do expect them to cave, as always.

    Tom, you are not alone (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:10:57 PM EST
    "I'm just dismayed at the process," Harkin said.  "I think that we on our side caved in too much in order to appease a few people. I just think we should have held strong on some of these things and seen if we could have passed it. If not, then you come back and try to fix it."

    Join the club. Oh that's right, you are in the club. Where were you a week ago when Susan Collins was working her 'magic'?

    Probably fighting her like hell (4.25 / 4) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:13:37 PM EST
    behind the scenes.  Tom Harkin is no patsy, but he's not one for parading in front of the cameras much.  He's one of the most reliable good guys.

    I know, I do like him (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:15:18 PM EST
    But he sure let Susan Collins win the public battle. That did not help the current situation.

    Not his role (4.00 / 4) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:22:39 PM EST
    nor has it ever been.

    I'd rather know why, for instance, Chuck Schumer let Collins win.  Or John Kerry or any of these telegenic talkers who could get on any TV program they want with five minutes notice.  Or how about Sheldon Whitehouse, one of the most articulate and forceful and convincing guys we've got on the semi-left these days?

    The Dems. utter inability to even understand there's a PR war that has to be fought appears to me at this point to be completely incurable.  The only time they've managed it was when the Clinton forces were organizing them during impeachment.  They were all out there on TV and in the papers every hour of every day, fighting back hard, and it's surely one reason Clinton's approval never wavered while all that sludge was being thrown at him.

    But they look now like a bunch of half-blind moles half-emerging from their little tunnels, looking around and blinking.


    Absolutely right (none / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:33:57 PM EST
    I do not absolve anyone. It is exactly as you describe.

    moreHarkin (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:12:54 PM EST

    He lamented that funding to fight preventable diseases that he had helped shepherd into an earlier version of the bill was being cut in the compromise version.

    "5.8 down to a billion, there you go," said a clearly frustrated Harkin.
    How would you have gotten it passed, he was asked?

    "Let them vote against it. See what the public outcry would be if they stopped this. The public is on our side. They want the money. We gotta get it out there. We gotta get it out there in good measure," Harkin said.

    "And yet we didn't really kind of hold the line on it and see where the votes are. Make them filibuster. I think the people are getting shortchanged. We should have a better allocation of this money as it goes out."

    It's only a matter of time (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:46:50 PM EST
    before Obama and Reid use Harkin as their example of an unhappy liberal, proving the compromise must be awesome. I'm saving him a spot under the bus.

    I am amazed (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:15:46 PM EST
    that they didn't try to buy off Lisa Murkowski. She needs pork to get reelected, and Alaska Republicans LOVE government spending.

    I love it (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:17:56 PM EST
    I'm glad he is speaking up now, anyway. Maybe it's not too late.

    Harkin agrees with BTD (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by oldpro on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:26:17 PM EST
    about including the AMT in this package.  They were going to do that anyway a bit later and Harkin is incensed because there is NOTHING stimulative about AMT.

    I had the unfortunate occasion (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 05:18:38 PM EST
    to hear the big announcement with so many of my favorites: Specter, Lieberman, Reid, Nelson, Collins; yeah, I could have changed the station, but I was having a sort of I-can't-help-looking-at-the-car-accident experience, where as much as I didn't want to hear what they had to say, I was compelled to by forces I don't understand, lol.

    That was followed by remarks by the ever-unctuous and always-tanned (even his voice sounds tanned) John Boehner, who was joined by the words-cannot-describe-my-loathing-for Eric Cantor, who whined about how they had been left out of the process, and how they had much better ideas that would have been much more stimulative.  It seems to have escaped Boehner that these are the same old GOP ideas that saw us losing millions and millions of jobs; "stimulative" as it refers to legislation is not supposed to mean Boehner can skip a dose of the little blue pill, but somehow I get the impression that he thinks so.  And all those fake tanning rays have wiped out all memory of the total freeze-out of Democrats implemented by the GOP majority for years.  Boo-hoo, Boehner.

    It was as distressing a 20 minutes as I have spent in recent memory and I was sorry I heard it.

    My overall impression of both pressers was that none of the people I heard from have even a remote clue what they're doing.  Pelosi should have expended her anger weeks ago, and should have had a large contingent have a little come-to-Jesus meeting with Obama.

    Too late now.

    Los Angeles Times says the (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 03:54:58 PM EST
    purported conference bill is less $$ than either the House or Senate bill.  Also, Boehner and others complain of secrecy!


    Someone stop me...oops too late (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:23:39 PM EST
    Flag burning anyone? Blah blah blah blah Terri Schiavo blah blah blah blah Rubber Stamp Dubya blah blah blah blah No Oversight Of Anything blah blah blah blah Dry Powder blah blah blah blah Nuclear Option blah blah blah blah

    This is the world's smallest violin playing my liberal heart bleeds for you feeling left out Repubs

    Just in case you guys and girls didn't notice, the American people have asked us to leave you out of stuff.  That is indicated by not leaving you with any majority anywhere, so duh, hello reality.


    ummm (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CST on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:25:53 PM EST
    That would be the "nukular option" thank you very much :)

    You are on a roll today. I (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:32:22 PM EST
    envision you standing on top of that billboard screaming loudly.

    Left hand... (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 03:58:51 PM EST
    ...meet right hand

    Sounds like someone doesn't know what's going on!

    I see you've met the (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:12:29 PM EST
    Democratic Congressional Leadership

    nelson update (none / 0) (#15)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:21:53 PM EST

    Last-minute "hiccup" on school money

    The conference committee delay was the result of an ongoing "hiccup" over the size of school construction funding, according to three Democratic aides with knowledge of the situation.

    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are now meeting in the Speaker's office to hash out the details, according to one staffer who added: "We'll get there."

    When Harry met Nancy (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:22:31 PM EST

    video (none / 0) (#20)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:25:57 PM EST
    Jeez...you might have warned (none / 0) (#22)
    by oldpro on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:31:58 PM EST

    OOPS! (none / 0) (#25)
    by jedimom on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 04:34:13 PM EST