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The Republican-controlled Congress

It's remarkable that with solid Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, and a Democrat in the White House, we still have a Republican-controlled Congress. I guess "majority" means "2/3" when you're a Democrat.

The House of Representatives agreed not to amend the tax-cut bill, and passed it with all its non-job-producing, deficit-busting giveaways intact. They could have amended it and sent it back to the Senate, where it would only need 51 votes to pass under the reconciliation process, but they didn't because they were afraid the mean old Republicans would do something to them -- I'm not sure what. As a result, the tax cuts will next come up for discussion during the 2012 campaign season, and they will be extended again because it's campaign season.

And the House of Representatives agreed to remove the repeal of DADT from the defense authorization bill; they'll presumably pass it shortly. They could have left DADT in the bill, but they were afraid that the mean old Republicans would prevent it from being voted on in the Senate. Which of course they will, because now that they've got their tax giveaway, the Republicans have no incentive to let anything come up for a vote in the Senate in the next three weeks; they can just hold their breaths and pass their own version next month, riding in on a white horse to rescue the American people from the Democrats' inability to get anything done.

They're bringing up DADT repeal as a separate bill, which has zero chance of coming up for a vote in the Senate so this is an utterly pointless gesture.

I think they've already given up on the DREAM act, out of fear that the mean old Republicans would... I'm not sure what.

I don't know about the "medical care for 9/11 first responders" bill: it's got the sort of heroic, patriotic ring to it that might pass the current Republican-controlled Congress, but OTOH, that would mean allowing something to pass with Obama's signature on it, and we can't have that. And somebody might (shortly after passing an $800-billion tax cut) complain about its [EDIT: $7.4 billion] effect on the deficit.

[EDIT: Yes, the Senate Republicans filibustered this one too, not because they had any objection to the bill but because Obama hadn't actually signed the tax cut yet, only promised to. And yes, they object to its $7.4 billion price tag, two days after cheerfully voting for a tax cut over 100 times larger.]

[EDIT: Meanwhile, House Republicans have killed a bill -- already passed unanimously in the Senate -- to treat child marriage as a human rights violation. They object that it costs $107 million -- which has already been allocated, but would be moved to a different budget line under the bill -- and that unless there's sufficient oversight, a penny of that money might accidentally go to an NGO that supports abortion rights.]

The entire Democratic Party seems to be running scared that someone somewhere will say something mean about them. Well of course somebody will say something mean about them -- that's the job of political campaigns -- but giving the Republicans everything they want won't prevent that.


"They're bringing up DADT repeal as a separate bill, which has zero chance of coming up for a vote in the Senate so this is an utterly pointless gesture."

About that...
OK, I'm pleasantly surprised. :-)

So, were tax-cuts-for-the-rich the price for getting cloture on DADT and a couple of other things this week? Maybe Obama's not quite as weak a negotiator as I thought....