Failed Hostage Vote Leaves GOP Leaders Red-Faced
Needing to pay for disasters that wrecked the East Coast last month and to fund government operations past Sept. 30, House Republicans once again proved they were incapable of counting votes, drafting responsible legislation, or even passing their own bills. Taking the nation hostage yet again, this time Republicans couldn't even agree what their ransom demands were.
A Republican race so vile that presidential aspirant Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) casually condemned a yet unknown number of women to die from cervical cancer so she could score points with the Luddite anti-vaccine crowd; so reprehensible that hundreds of Tea Party zealots at last week's nationally-televised GOP presidential debate cheered for abandoning the uninsured to misery and death; so unspeakably evil that thousands of rabid GOP evangelical supremacists routinely consigned their own children to brutal torture camps secreted across the South and Mountain West, will try again Thursday to fulfill House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's vision of axing $1.5 billion from an auto industry jobs program so his wealthy cronies can get lavish makeovers for their Virginia McMansions.
Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) were red-faced when their first stab at taking disaster relief hostage so they could gut more American jobs failed to muster the required yeas to permit another GOP football-spiking, booty-shaking, finger-shooting end zone dance. They'd schemed to tack the disaster relief onto the continuing resolution needed to keep the government funded after Sept. 30, with the $1.5 billion theft of job-creation funds lurking inside it like the chest-bursting monster from the Alien movies.
Republicans wanted to restrict disaster relief for recent hurricane, flood, and earthquake damage to a paltry $3.65 billion, short of what was needed to address the multiple catastrophes that plagued the East Coast, but apparently sufficient to gussy up the overpriced tract houses Cantor's well-heeled supporters lurked in throughout Virginia's 7th Congressional District.
Knowing his pals couldn't enjoy their new Carrera marble counters and new Mpingo-wood decks unless they knew that getting them had caused children to go hungry and mothers to cry in anguish, Cantor aimed to raid $1.5 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which had already created 40,000 jobs. Plundering nearly half the remaining money set aside for that Bush-era job-creation project would certainly add to the economic misery endemic across the nation and add to his pals' enjoyment of their new McMansion makeovers, Cantor reasoned. Furthermore, it would prevent building more energy-efficient cars in America, earning a tip of the cap from oil moguls everywhere.
Unfortunately for evil-doers everywhere, the GOP scheme failed to pass muster Wednesday. Demonstrating yet again the GOP leadership had been ditching class and swilling beer down by the levee during third-grade arithmetic, their bill went down to ignominious defeat in the House of Representatives, 230-195. 48 Republicans joined all but six Democrats in opposing the scheme.
"We are now watching the Tea Party shutdown movie for the third time this year," complained Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). He told MSNBC's Morning Joe, "They can't get together the basic Republican votes on the House side to even pass the continuing resolution they agreed to just a few weeks ago, let alone some disaster aid for a country that's been hard-hit by a lot of disasters."
Many Republicans voted against the measure because it hadn't included more spending cuts to offset the disaster relief. More cuts would likely violate spending agreements forged in the debt-ceiling deal, but if Republicans couldn't speak with forked tongues, they'd never get to speak at all.
The greater problem was that some Republicans actually realised the disaster funding was inadequate, and figured it shouldn't be offset with cuts elsewhere.
However, many contrite Republicans promised their leadership they would vote for the bill given a mulligan.
"So far, not enough has switched," Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told the Hill. "A number of them did stand up and say they would vote yes, so that's what the Speaker has to decide over the next few hours: Are there enough to go with the offset we had yesterday, or if not, then we'll have to go with no offsets."
Over in the Senate side, Harry Reid (D-NV) had won passage of a disaster relief measure with bipartisan support, 62-37. Ten Republicans joined Democrats to pass a much more realistic $6.9 billion disaster relief package without requiring cuts to other programs.
Any crazy House GOP scheme that shorted disaster spending and gutted vital job-creation programs to pay for Virginia McMansion expansions was doomed in the Senate.
"We don't know what they're going to do over there today," said Reid.
Clearly, Republicans didn't know what they were doing either. They, along with everyone else, just knew it was going to be evil.