Catching up on the House budget deal and the conservative “civil war”

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Image by DonkeyHotey, C.C. license use.

I was too busy with Festivus prep, asbestos pants, and shopping for snow boots to care much about the federal budget, so I am playing catch – -but here are a few notes.

Under the deal that passed the House 332-94:
*Federal workers have to contribute more to their pensions. –David Dayen has info.

*The plan does not close any tax loophole

*1.3 million of the long-term unemployed will lose unemployment benefits

*It reverses about 33 percent of the sequestration cuts slated for the next 2 years
Reminder: Sequestration slashed billions from Title I, special ed., and Head Start. NEA has more info.

*The Pentagon will get an extra $32 billion, or 4.4 percent, in 2014. Dave Gilson has more on this.

*It lowers the cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees younger than 62

Paul Krugman says the budget is a small victory for the Dems, but that overall, the 2010 Tea Partiers have achieved
“a triumph of anti-government ideology that has had enormously destructive effects on American workers”.

Rmuse at PoliticsUsa.com says the House deal is a Dem. failure:

“Ryan’s austerity budget that Democrats could hardly stomach two years ago set discretionary spending at $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015, and this proposed “agreement” with Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015; both years are less than Republicans demanded in Ryan’s budget. It is glaringly obvious that Republicans have so mesmerized Democrats with their austerity madness since they took control of the House in 2010 that this “deal” is considered a good compromise.”

It should be noted that my Rep., Mark Pocan, voted against the deal.

All it took for the conservative fringe to squeal in pain, says Weigel, was for them to get wind that there could be some raised spending levels from the sequestration levels and that there could be an increase in taxes.

Umm. Except it was not “could” – – it was “would”. They knew because Paul Teller was leaking details to conservative groups. He got fired from the Republican Study Committee on Wednesday for that breach of “trust”.

Therefore they went ballistic on Dec. 5th before ANY reporter had seen details on a new budget plan.

In the car the other day, I heard NPR’s
It’s ‘Not Great,’ But Budget Deal Is Expected To Pass In The House

Paul Ryan was playing the sane guy. The guy who has to keep things held together for the good of all saying,
“I don’t think we should lurch from crisis to crisis”
“I for one think we should try to make this divided government work”
and
“I think THAT’s just what people are looking for in this country – just that Washington’s not going to blow up every couple of months.”

Both Ryan and John Boehner did their “they criticized a bill they’d never seen!” shtick. It went unchallenged by Audi Cornish.

By now everybody has probably seen Boehner let it loose on former rich friends in the right wing fringe like Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, and Club for Growth saying:
“I think they’ve lost all credibility …They pushed us into the fight to defund Obamacare and shut down the government…And the day before the government reopened, one of these groups said, ‘Well, we never thought it would work.’”
Followed by an incredulous
“Are you kiddin’ me?”

Why break away from the Tea Party?
The easy answer is because the federal gov’t shutdown made the Republicans the party of disaster and an image makeover is essential for the Repubs. before the elections of 2014.

The Gallup poll lets us know things are changing for the Tea Party set.
Gallup says, “for the first time, a slim majority of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement.”
51%

We do need to keep in mind that 58% of self-identified Republicans polled said they still have a favorable opinion of the right wing fringe ideology. Which means primaries will still be dominated by the hardliners.

The Senate will vote on the deal on Tuesday, although on Sunday per procedural rules, Senators can speak on the legislative floor if they choose to. – source: WaPo

Senate Democrats need at last five Republican Senators to vote ‘yay’ for the budget bill to pass. There’s no sign today 12/13/13 that 5 are on board.

The contenders for president – Rubio, Cruz, and Paul – all have vowed to vote “no”. Of course there’s lots of talk that Paul Ryan lost his chance at running for president by working on this.

FreedomWorks has asked its members to keep Senate phones ringing off the hook with calls to oppose the budget plan. Weigel says only 18 calls were received 30 minutes after the request.

I just scanned my email inbox to see who is asking *ME* to call Congress on this. So far only NEA is. That’s surprising given how much junk mail I usually get from Dem. front groups on a daily basis.

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