Budget Vote a No Go
Things continue to be ugly for Republicans this week. Even after making substantial concessions to moderate Republicans in the House, the leadership was not able to secure enough votes to pass it’s budget proposal and had to scrap the vote last night.
“The product we had for today wasn’t quite where it needs to be yet,” said Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican, who said backers of the cuts remained a “handful” of votes short.
It was a stunning retreat for a Republican majority that has prided itself on iron discipline and an ability to win even the most difficult floor votes consistently. It was set against Democratic election victories on Tuesday that left Republicans worried about the 2006 midterm contests. It was also a setback for Mr. Blunt, who is filling in as majority leader for Representative Tom DeLay and would be a candidate for the job permanently should Mr. DeLay’s legal problems persist in Texas, where he is under criminal indictment.
The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, eh, Roy?
And the best news out of all of this? Democrats have found their spines again.
In the House, Mr. Blunt and other top Republicans said a main impediment was the unity of the Democrats, who would not provide a single vote for the plan, forcing Republicans to rely on party support for a measure that makes moderates nervous because it contains politically charged cuts in food stamps and health care for the poor.
Democrats said the postponement reflected growing resistance within the Republican Party over its direction on spending and tax issues. Democrats have begun home-state attacks over the budget cuts against Republicans deemed vulnerable.
Please, oh please, let this be the start of something and not just a one shot wonder.