At the conclusion of the of the “conference” charade meetings on the so-called stimulus bill — the photo-op that Democrats deigned to invite Republican conferees to attend — the American people, Republican members of Congress and the media still had not been given the text of the new bill crafted behind closed doors by Democrat leadership and three Senate RINOs. On Tuesday evening, the House voted unanimously in favor of a motion to instruct conferees that they should make available the text of this debased excuse for a stimulus bill on the internet for 48 hours prior to the House vote for passage. It appears this vote merely a show from Democrat leadership, and was not legally binding, which means Democrats will likely not keep their word. There is no one to hold them accountable for their actions except the American people.
New Details of Secret Negotiations Emerge
New information has surfaced on the Republican conferee shutout from conference negotiations over the trillion-dollar spending bill. A Hill source close to the action tells HUMAN EVENTS that there were in fact a series of meetings Tuesday late afternoon and evening and Wednesday morning and afternoon to hammer out the specifics of the conference report in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office. The late-night meeting referred to in press reports was actually an 8:45 p.m. meeting Tuesday evening in Reid’s office with Reid and the RINO bookend senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, in attendance.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) was not in this nighttime meeting but made it known that he was available to return to the negotiations, if needed. He had already met with the group earlier and let them know that his high-end threshold for the compromise was the pre-debt service cost total of $780 billion. The group, including Specter, met again both morning and afternoon on Wednesday. None of the Republican conferees from either the House or the Senate were invited to attend any part of these negotiations.
The Senate “compromise” bill that Specter, Collins and Snowe originally touted as a $780 billion piece of legislation actually later came back with a non-partisan, Democrat-controlled Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of $838.2 billion. The trio was off by a whopping $58.2 billion in their pre-debt service cost estimate. Perhaps these senators consider tens of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money merely chump change (we’re the chumps) when compared to the depth, breadth and height of their spending bill’s total cost. The latest version of their work is now being scored by the CBO.
It would appear from all of the post-deal-announcement reports and brouhaha late yesterday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was not consulted about specifics of the deal before the public announcement was made, with Reid and Pelosi trading barbs about who won the power struggle between the two through massive leaks from both offices. All’s not well with Democrats in Obamaland.
Keeping Up with Chairman Pence
Yesterday morning, in the calm before the storm, I spoke with House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and asked him about the conference negotiations on this so-called stimulus bill and the reports of the funding to prepare the country for universal healthcare secreted in this abomination of a bill.
Pence told me, “Republicans need to identify the $600 million in the House bill to ‘prepare the country for universal healthcare’ — this has been hidden in broad daylight for a few weeks in the House bill. I’m very pleased that more Americans are becoming aware that the Democrats are trying to remake healthcare in America under the guise of stimulus. The larger question is, what’s this got to do with creating jobs? House Republicans will relish a debate over healthcare when legislation comes to the floor that is relevant to those issues, but what we ought to be focusing on right now is the kind of targeted and temporary legislation that will put people back to work.”
The caucus chairman then told me an emotional story about the “other” town hall meeting held in Indiana on Monday, his own. “There were a couple of things that were very striking,” Pence said. “My town hall meetings which I do very routinely usually draw about 30-40 people. I do them on a regular basis. This town hall meeting drew 300 people in my small hometown of Columbus, Ind., at 12:30 p.m. on Monday in the middle of a workday. The overwhelming majority of Hoosiers in that room strongly opposed the so-called stimulus bill and strongly supported Republican calls for tax relief for working families and small businesses.
Pence continued, “The most compelling moment for me was when a young lady my daughter’s age, I would put her at about 14, named Hillary, stood up in front of the whole crowd and told me about her dad. She said, ‘My dad is a single parent, he’s raising the two of us on his own. Congressman, is there anything in this bill that would get his hours back,’ she said. He had had his hours reduced from 40 to 25 she had said, and you could have heard a pin drop in that room. The emotion in my voice gave evidence of my response. I looked that young lady in the eye and I said, ‘Number one, you’re very brave to stand up and do this, and I commend you for asking the right question: is there anything in this bill that will help my dad go back to full time. Hillary, I cannot tell you yes to that question, and I cannot vote yes on this so-called stimulus bill.’ The crowd exploded in applause. I gave her a hug after the meeting. That’s who we should be focusing on is folks like the single dad raising two kids and just had his hours cut in half. I know cutting taxes on his employer is going to increase the chances of getting his hours back. I know cutting his taxes right now is going to help him raise that family. I don’t know what $300 million for green golf carts is going to do to help Hillary’s dad.”
How’s this for a solution, Mr. Pence? The Associated Press is reporting that one of the only real stimulative elements in the bill, Obama’s "Making Work Pay" tax credit for 95 percent of working people, was trimmed by Democrats to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January. With solutions like these from Democrats, there is no relief for folks like Hillary’s dad and his children in this bill.
It’s just not a “stimulus” bill: it’s a spending bill that won’t help America.