99ers, compromise, DADT, Dave Dayen, debt ceiling limit, Firedoglake, good deal, government funding, hostage, Huffington Post, letter, Lucy and the football, omnibus spending bill, President Obama, Reid, Senate Republicans, START, TANF, tax cuts, working poor
Now that President Obama’s “good deal” has been signed, sealed, and delivered thanks to the warm and fuzzy “spirit of compromise” floating around D.C. this holiday season, let’s take a look at who got goodies in their Christmas stocking and who got a lump of coal.
Republicans went into the lame-duck session with a letter to Majority Leader Reid, signed by all 42 Republican senators, stating that “any bill brought up before votes to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and a stop-gap funding bill to keep the government operating will be filibustered.” Those were their two main objectives—tax cut extension and stop-gap funding. They went two for two. As a bonus they also got a lower than expected estate tax.
The president gave them the first, after being, ahem, “forced” into it. Just as an aside, does anyone else find it strange that the tax cut extension got more votes in a Democratic-controlled House that the original Bush tax cuts did in a Republican-controlled one in 2001, 277–-240? But I digress.
Reid gave them the second on Thursday after another episode of Lucy and the football in which Republicans (surprise, surprise) reneged on their support for the omnibus spending bill. The result will likely be a short-term continuing resolution lasting a couple of months. At which time Republicans will control the House and demand ransom for their next “hostage”—the debt ceiling limit. Dave Dayen at Firedoglake:
“Republicans will have a chance in February of next year to set spending levels…And if anyone thinks that the result will not be a slashing of vital social safety net spending, take a look at how Reid folded last night, trading other priorities. The “stimulus” from the tax cut deal is GONE. It’ll be gone by February, at least. Republicans are fulfilling the Norquistian promise of lowering taxes massively, and then using that lack of revenue as a pretext to cut social spending. That’s what’ll happen in February. And the debt limit vote provides just another opportunity.”
But, as Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post points out, the cuts to safety net spending won’t have to wait until Republicans take over the House. Along with the working poor and the 99ers, there were others stiffed by the grand compromise:
“…federal funds for the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) program have entirely dried up for the first time since 1996, leaving states with an average of 15 percent less federal funding for the coming year to help an ever-increasing number of needy families.
TANF, the federal program that replaced welfare under the Clinton Administration, provides a lifeline for families and workers who have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits. According to a new report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “more homeless families will go without shelter, fewer low-wage workers will receive help with child care expenses, and fewer families involved with the child welfare system will receive preventive services” now that Congress has passed legislation that will end funding for the TANF Contingency Fund in 2011.”
Other parts of this “deal” are that the GOP will supposedly allow the passage of DADT repeal and START. Don’t be surprised if Lucy makes another appearance before that gets done. Republicans also promised to allow the confirmation of four of President Obama’s nominees to the federal bench. Four out of 38.
What shrewd traders.