Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Senate Does Not Have Enough Votes to Pass Stimulus

Trouble on Capitol Hill. The Senate leadership has confirmed that they don't have 60 votes needed to make the President's stimulus package filibuster-proof.

In my favorite West Wing Episode, Leo McGarry (Chief of Staff of my heart) warns his staffers that there are two things that you don't want the voters to know how're they're made: "Laws and sausages." Add stimulus packages to that list.

Dealmaking is part of politics, compromise is the name of the game. And while I love our Senate leadership (Harry Reid = Heart), as responsible young Democrats it's important that we keep track of what they're up to. To get the bill through the House, funding for low-income family planning was axed and to get the bill through the Senate more things are going to go.

In the next few days, pay particular attention to what Senator Snowe (whom Nate Silver calls the most powerful senator in America) and Senator Collins, both Maine Republican Moderates, are saying. The Washington Post has a list of the things that Collins has in her radar, including $400 million for HIV prevention.

I know all this stimulus stuff can be dense, but as taxpayers, citizens, and Democrats, we need to be aware of its twists and turns. So keep an eye on the news and if you get alarmed about a program that you hear may be cut, don't be afraid to call or write your Senator. The best way to change things is to get involved directly.