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Collins, a swing vote on the Senate stimulus bill, has said she will not vote for a bill over $800 billion. She can keep her word today...

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Will Sen. Collins Be the Billion-Dollar Baby, Or Will She Vote No?

Collins, a swing vote on the Senate stimulus bill, has said she will not vote for a bill over $800 billion. She can keep her word today…

Members of the Obama sycophant Capitol Hill media did their best yesterday to bully Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a press conference just hours before voting to end the debate on the $838.2 billion “stimulus” spending bill. The media, reading straight from the Democrat talking points, asked such questions as “The bill right now is about 45 percent tax cuts. That’s not enough? You can’t support that? Is there any percentage you would support?” A genuinely surprised McConnell replied, “The Senate bill? The only way it could be characterized as 40-some odd percent tax cuts would be if you added in the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] fix… every year we do an AMT fix, so simply not collecting a tax that we were never going to levy anyway I don’t find terribly stimulative.”

“Senator, do you see any circumstances under which more Republicans might vote for the finished product and, if not, is there some possibility of backlash against Republicans for saying ‘no’ to the stimulus package during this tough economy?” another reporter asked.

Don’t they get current polling data in Obamaland? Currently, 63% of Americans oppose the Obama-Reid-Pelosi bill.

My personal favorite Obamatron question, “Did the President’s appearance in Indiana today have any impact on your thinking about the bill?” McConnell replied, “No,” (not quite managing to keep a straight face) before explaining to the reporter that being opposed to doing the wrong thing was not the same as favoring doing nothing.

Given the level of bias permeating the media room, I injected an unpopular-to-the-media truth into the mix. “Senator, I’m hearing reports that the calls coming into Senate offices are running hundreds [plural] to one against this bill,” I asked. “Would you comment on that generally and as it relates to your own office, as well?” There was a near-E.F. Hutton moment reaction from my peers.

“I haven’t got the exact count on my office, but I’ve heard that that’s been the case, yes,” McConnell said. “I think people do have some sticker shock. Everybody knows the economy is in serious trouble and everybody expects the government to act. This particular package because of the amount, because of the level of spending on projects, the spend-out rate, all the money in year two and three and four doesn’t add up to timely, temporary and targeted — which is what we all thought this was going to be about. I think the Congressional Democrats just couldn’t break old habits and this was viewed as an opportunity to do a lot of things on the wish list and charge it to our grandchildren to do it now. I think that’s the core reason that there are very few Republicans supporting it.”

Two hours later, cloture was invoked in the Senate on a straight Democrat party-line vote, with the help of just three so-called Republicans, Sen. Arlen Specter (RINO-Pa.) and the RINO bookends from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, ending debate on the largest spending bill in history after only one afternoon of debate on the legislation as written. The full text of the new so-called compromise bill was not released until Saturday after 11:00 pm and the Senate conducted no business on Sunday, convening at 1:00 p.m. Monday.

Ten minutes after the vote on cloture began at 5:30 pm, the non-partisan, Democrat-controlled Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the bill was received via email by Senate offices. The CBO estimates that the so-called compromise Senate “stimulus” spending bill will cost $838.2 billion. This is $18.7 billion more than the House-passed bill.

Collins said earlier this week in a television appearance with the “compromise” co-author Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) that she could not support the House bill that topped off at $819.5 billion because of the exorbitant cost. “We don’t want a package that is too small because that will end up just wasting money. On the other hand, we’re very leery of having an enormous package that would not be necessary and would just boost the federal deficit,” Collins told CNN as Nelson nodded in agreement. Collins has said she will not vote for a bill over $800 billion. She has a chance to keep her word at noon today when the vote on passage comes to the floor of the Senate. Given the new CBO numbers that surpass the House bill by over $18 billion, will Collins honor her word with a “no” vote against passage?

Hillarycare Part Deux Secreted in the “Compromise” Bill

More shocking news about things cloaked in the gargantuan bill seeped out today in a Bloomberg News report by Betsy McCaughey called Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan.

Buried in the faux stimulus bill is a very aggressive plan contributed by disgraced former Health and Human Services cabinet nominee Tom Daschle — tax cheat — laying the foundations and then the action items for a government takeover of medicine. The bill would create a new bureaucracy headed by a new healthcare czar, who would create a national database that include your personal health records. The czar would also create and enforce “guidelines” that doctors will be required to follow in providing healthcare for patients or pay fines for disobedience. Can jail time be far behind?

The Senate bill will likely be passed with RINO help today and go to conference with House and Senate leadership participating in consolidation of the bills that passed the House and Senate. The Conference Report will then be subject to a final passage vote — a 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Specter said last night in a statement that he would not vote for final passage of the Conference Report in the Senate if changes were made to the “compromise” bill. “My support for the Conference Report on the stimulus package will require that the Senate compromise bill come back virtually intact including, but not limited to, overall spending, the current ratio of tax cuts to spending, and the $110 billion in cuts,” Specter said.

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, folks. Keep up the pressure.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday the final passage vote on the Conference Report could come as early as Friday.

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Connie Hair writes a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

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