Can Republican Senators Stop the Stimulus?

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Apparently, Republican Senators still haven’t gotten the message about how little power they have. According to Think Progress, there is some talk about trying to filibuster the stimulus bill next week.

Now, that might sound threatening to some. But a simple look at the math will tell you just what an uphill battle it would be. Nate Silver recently published a filibuster watch in which he looked at how many times Republican Senators have voted with the Obama administration already. Certainly this is a bit lop-sided since 2 of the 7 votes were for confirmations of Cabinet posts. But one of them was for Tim Geithner, the most contested to date.

The results are that all but 2 Republicans (DeMint and Vitter) have voted with the Obama Administration at least once and the fewest on any matter has been 5 on the Ledbetter Fair Play Act. If you remove the confirmation votes from the mix, a total of 28 Republican Senators have voted with the administration at least once.

Here’s the visual.

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Since Silver made this graph, there was a vote on SCHIP, which got 9 Republican votes (Alexander, Collins, Corker, Hutchison, Lugar, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe and Specter).

Without Franken being seated yet, the Democrats are likely to have 58 votes and only need 2 for cloture. Of course, there is always the possibility that some Democrats might vote against it – but certainly not more than a couple, which would increase the “magic number” to 4.

While the case can be made that the Republicans leadership was able to stop even one House Member from voting for the stimulus, we need to remember that Senators (especially those up for re-election in 2 years) have to win state-wide elections and are likely to have trouble explaining obstrusctionism on a bill like this to their constituents. And apparently, GOP Governors are applying their own pressure for passage.

This past week the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress to quickly pass the plan.

“States are facing fiscal conditions not seen since the Great Depression – anticipated budget shortfalls are expected in excess of $200 billion,” the NGA statement said. “Governors … support several key elements of the bill critical to states-increased federal support for Medicaid and K-12 and higher education; investment in the nation’s infrastructure; and tax provisions to spur investment.”

I know that our VERY conservative Republican Governor Pawlenty just released his budget this week. It includes over $900 million in expected federal aid from the stimulus bill. And even with that, there are huge cuts in health care and higher education.  

I suppose anything is possible, but I expect that Senate Minority Whip John Kyl is facing a very uphill battle on this one.  

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    • Edger on February 1, 2009 at 1:00 am

    The other day at Talkleft TChris wrote a post that he titled “Obama Signs Ledbetter Act”, and with my first glance at his title, I saw “Obama Signs Bedwetter Act”, and I thought Great! He’s outlawed the GOP and made it a felony to be wingnut!

    It was early, and I didn’t quite have both eyes open.

    Kyl, DeMint, Vitter and likely most of the GOP probably wouldn’t see the humor, I imagine.

    Maybe we could start another petition? We’d need more than a few special prosecutors, and there should be tropical paradise housing available in Guantanamo Bay soon… 😉

  1. …two Democratic Senators are already questioning the recovery and investment act. Nelson (Ben) is undecided, and Kent Conrad goes for “nay” in its current form. In my opinion, it’s going to take still more Obama surrenders (tax cuts, giving up some of the stimuli) to get this past a filibuster. And we’re going to wind up with a bill even worse than the current one, which is a bag half full of sugar and half full of shit.

    Notice that we on the left aren’t being listened to because, as usual, we have nowhere to go if some of our concerns – like the billions for corporate tax cuts we don’t like – aren’t dealt with. So, Obama charms the Republicans and the conservative Dems, and we sit in the corner, knowing what a “mixed” bag this legislation is, but certainly not willing to suggest Senators vote against it given the need for job creation. All the while we wonder (but in our hearts know) why the hell bipartisanship concessions only embrace the guys on the other side of the aisle.

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