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February 06, 2009

Roll Call: Voinovich Pulls Out of Negotiations

Link here. From Benson:

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) has pulled out of negotiations on a bipartisan compromise on the Senate's economic stimulus bill.

Three Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pa.) -- continue to negotiate with Democrats, but Voinovich's departure could make it more difficult for Democrats to reach the 60 votes they need to pass the bill.

Voinovich left a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office around 2:30 p.m., saying he did not believe there was a deal he could agree to on an amendment that would cut as much as $100 billion from the more than $920 billion measure.

"I've really tried to work on this, but the three things that it should be timely, that it should be temporary and it should be targeted, that was something that I looked at," Voinovich said. "It just doesn't meet my criteria, and I feel very sorry because I think the Majority Leader has his responsibility, and he's got his Members that he has to take care of."

Susan Collins also says she's not as certain the bill will pass as she was.

Related to that, I quoted Collins yesterday from a print report, suggesting that Obama had won her over on the size of the package. I've since seen her full remark, and she didn't really say that. What she said was that Obama had convinced her on the need for a large-size stimulus, but, crucially, she added she was not convinced that we needed a spendulus of the size that the House passed.

I figure she'll still fold. But she didn't already give it up the way I'd thought she did.

Many commenters are pretty sure McCain will vote for the bill. I don't think so. I could be wrong, of course. But he's talking quite tough against this bill and, furthermore, this bill goes against one of the few things he actually seems to care about -- reducing pork and wasteful spending. Since that, and the war, was pretty much the only thing he ran on in the fall, I think there's a pretty good chance the Great Compromiser will find this a compromise too far.

Lindsey Graham, who seems to be McCain's poodle, is talking very tough against the bill indeed, so I'd take that as a window into McCain's thinking as well.

I think the pool of defectors is now limited to Snowe, Collins, and Specter. While Snowe and Collins are annoyingly moderate, I think what keeps them in the GOP at all is fiscal restraint. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) So I don't see them as certain defectors.

I have no idea about Specter.

The Unbearable Lightness of Biden: Totally prepared to be VP. On top of all the issues and debates.

I think my favorite moment in Vice President Biden’s characteristically peculiar performance before the House Democrats’ retreat this morning is when, having traipsed absent-mindedly into a discussion of his concern about the deficit, he seems suddenly to realize that he’s talking to a group that just voted to vastly increase the deficit, and the shifting of gears almost breaks the transmission:
Anybody remember a time when we're talking about, if we don't make some real changes, deficits that are a trillion two hundred billion dollars a year for as far as the eye can see, if we don't, ah, get it right, which you guys have already?

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posted by Ace at 03:25 PM

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