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Republicans Kill the Omnibus (and the Food Safety Bill Along With It)

December 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As things were coming together for Democrats on the tax bill in the House, the omnibus appropriations bill was falling apart in the Senate. Last night, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] announced on the Senate floor that nine Republicans who who had said they would support the bill had changed their minds and were now planning to vote against it. That left the Democrats with too few votes, and Reid with no choice but to pull the bill from the floor.

According to the Senate Democrats’ calendar, Reid’s plan is now to work with Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY] on an agreement to pass a short term continuing resolution that will keep the government funded until February or so. This will give the Republicans in the 112th Congress more power over setting spending levels and deciding which parts of the government get funding, and which don’t. That’s what this is all about. As Jamie Dupree explains, this bill has been in the works for a long time, and it has always been bipartisan:

What most people probably don’t realize is that the Omnibus bill was the product of months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee, all of which had the backing of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In other words – it was Business As Usual in the Congress.

“It was a Democratic and Republican bill,” complained Sen. Reid.

But after the results of the November elections were in – where a dominant message was that Congress was spending too much money – McConnell pulled a 180 degree turn and declared his opposition to the bill, ultimately bringing other GOP Senators along with him.

The bill even contained the exact spending level requested by the Republicans. And, as for the earmarks in the bill — the top two recipients would have been Republicans. McConnell himself had 35 earmarks in it totaling $112 million. Dave Weigel at Slate suggests that the increased openness in earmarking made it hard for Republicans to play both sides of the game here and ultimately led to the fall of the bill. “The increasing transparency of the earmark process was going to make it tougher for Republicans to support this bill and get away with it.”

The Food Safety Modernization Act, which has passed both chambers but the House is refusing to send to Obama because of a minor procedural infraction, was also included in the omnibus. Democrats say they are trying to reach an agreement with Republicans on putting it in the continuing resolution, but according to a Republican aide who spoke with The Hill, that’s not going to happen and the bill is effectively dead.

Related from NRO and NPR: more behind the scenes on how the omnibus fell. And from TPM: A Primer On The Fallout Of OmnibusFAIL.

UPDATE, 12/29/10: The food safety bill ended up being revised by the Democrats and passed on 12/21/10 in a stand-alone version as a substitute amendment to H.R.2751. It’s the same exact text as the Senate version. The bill has been cleared for the White House and will be signed into law soon.

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Comments

Displaying 31-39 of 39 total comments.

Bunnie1978 12/17/2010 1:52pm
in reply to Bunnie1978 Dec 17, 2010 1:47pm

By the way, I have been on both sides of the fence. Before I lost my job (because I was a single mother) I would have been considered upper middle class. I did surpass my upbringing – only because I went to college – which I never would have been able to do without the government paying for it. Now I’m back in the poor house. I get so annoyed with people living in million dollar mansions treating me like I’m lazy or not trying hard enough – that this situation is my fault.

The rich have the excess resources to avoid being much affected by our country’s current situation, and the pain is endured by the poor and middle classes.

Bunnie1978 12/18/2010 10:37am
in reply to Mahlalie Dec 18, 2010 7:26am

Both of these statements are deceptive, and I’ll tell you why. The “quintile” that a household falls into is irrespective of how many income earners (or dependants) are in the home. So, a family of 6 might be considered poor in the second lowest quintile, but a family of 2 would not. Now, if the data were adjusted for household size, it might be more relevant. In the second statement, it’s absolultely absurd to even consider it in light of the huge time span that it reflects. Over that 30 years, women have increasingly entered the workforce alongside their husbands. This data could easily be representative of that.

Interesting reading:
http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/books_swa2000_swa2000intro/
This is a link found by following up on the research used in the article you provided.

Bunnie1978 12/18/2010 9:25pm
in reply to Bunnie1978 Dec 18, 2010 8:48pm

OK, here it is:
First group of households have incomes of
8, 12, 19, 20, 20, 23, 45, 60, 89, 90, 130, 150

In this group, each quartile (for simplicity, the math works the same way) contains three of the families.
The first quartile are the low income 8, 12 and 19 and the fourth quartile are the high income 90, 130, 150.

The general concensus seems to be that inequality has GROWN, but that incomes in general have grown for most groups. The second test looks like this:
10, 13, 23, 25, 30, 45, 50, 60, 130, 160, 250, 400

In this set now, the first quartile is 10, 13, 23 and the fourth is 160, 250, 400.

Mahlalie 12/17/2010 10:21am
in reply to Bunnie1978 Dec 17, 2010 8:15am

“Research show otherwise.” Source?

Bunnie1978 12/18/2010 9:25pm
in reply to Bunnie1978 Dec 18, 2010 9:25pm

Here’s what you should notice in this data set to get the idea behind why the quintile measurement does not show actual social class mobility:
In our hypothetical situation, a family that made 130 in the first test would be in the fourth quartile, but in the second test would be in the third, with the same income. That’s how someone can “move down” to a lesser quintile in the data you’re looking at.

Mobility between quintiles does not reflect a change in income, it simply reflects a change in where that income level RANKS compared to all incomes.

Mahlalie 12/18/2010 7:02pm
in reply to Mahlalie Dec 18, 2010 7:02pm

^
Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/James_Madison

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Bunnie1978 12/18/2010 4:47am
in reply to Mahlalie Dec 17, 2010 2:45pm

No, the rich aren’t just going to eat the loss. They are going to fight to protect their wealth, regardless of the sacrifices that any other groups in America have to make.

Toolmakersdaughter 12/17/2010 8:16am

I wouldn’t start celebrating just yet. Reid is a man that plays dirty pool. Just look at how the shoved through Obamacare after we thought it was dead as a doornail. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO CELEBRATE! Stay vigilant and watch Reid like a hawk.

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