Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paul Ryan as Bob Michelson 2.0

I'm tempted to say he's the first decent GOP Congressional leader since Senate leader Michelson-before Newt Gingrich took over the GOP with his scorched earth tactics. '

Today we hear that both Democrats and Republicans have misigivngs about htis or that aspect of the new Omnibus spending bill that is expected to pass by Friday.

"Qualms in both parties over massive tax and spending package. But leaders expect it to pass by the end of the week despite the reservations."

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is widely considered a winner in these talks, is upset about several provisions. She opposes the provision to lift the oil ban and is upset it is included in the omnibus instead of the tax bill. In a closed meeting Wednesday morning, House Democrats wanted to know what they received in exchange. Republicans say they needed some incentive for their members to support the spending bill, which the oil provision provides."

"Pelosi also sought more tax breaks for refineries that will be affected by lifting the export ban. Pelosi wanted assistance for debt-crippled Puerto Rico. And she is raising questions about when a renewable energy tax credit would be phased out. Democrats are not expected to vote for the tax bill, but they are expected to provide more than half the votes for the spending bill."

“There are concerns we have about jobs," Pelosi told reporters Wednesday. "Jobs that will leave the country because of lifting the ban on crude oil, but the remedy for refining is not adequate. We’re concerned about ignoring the urgency of the situation in Puerto Rico, where American citizens are really in a situation that we must address. It won’t cost the American people one thin dime to allow Puerto Rico to restructure their debt and their bankruptcy.”

"Republicans — and many House Democratic aides — say Pelosi is airing those objections to assuage angry members of her caucus, but they predict she will come around to vote for the spending bill Friday."

"Pelosi knows [Democrats] got more than their share," one Democratic aide said.

"Republicans think they gave up too much, too. They did ensure that the omnibus would include reforms to visa-free travel in the United States and maintained existing policies enacted in previous spending bills. But the bill has no language stemming the flow of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, as some GOP lawmakers had demanded."

"There was not a lot of enthusiasm, I'll just say it that way. This is a bitter pill for a lot of us," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) began selling members on the deal early Wednesday. "Some will feel a duty to vote for this legislation; some won't."

"Though Sessions will likely vote against it, many other Republicans are beginning to fall in line behind the package that marries hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the spending billl. In interviews, Senate Republicans ranging from Roy Blunt of Missouri to James Lankford of Oklahoma to Tim Scott of South Carolina said they were considering backing the legislation because of goodies for their states and the economy-stoking power of tax breaks. All of them voted against the October budget agreement that set up the deal."

Meanwhile. John McCain is outraised by a provision in the bill. 

"McCain furious over Russian rocket engine provision. Language in the omnibus spending bill would remove restrictions on buying them."

Read more:

What strikes me is that this is what actual legislating is supposed to look like. There are fights over various provisions, there are differences between different members and the two parties but you actually get things done. Actual governing. In the House. 

Again, I think it's Paul Ryan. He genuinely realizes that both for his own ambitions and the good of the party he doesn't want the GOP to remain what it was in the Boehner years-the Party of No, where even when the Republicans agreed with the President or Democrats they would kill stuff just to avoid the President getting a victory.

Ryan realizes I suspect that the GOP simply has to be seen as at least be working in good faith rather than opposition out of pure politics. 

UPDATE: Nothing is a more clear sign of the return to legislative normalcy than this:

"The agreement, set for votes in the House and Senate on Thursday and Friday, includes $680 billion in tax breaks and $1.1 trillion in spending. Tucked inside are a host of pet provisions — a product of the logrolling that went into cobbling together enough votes from both parties to get it across the finish line.

Read more:
Yes, the return of logrolling that greases the wheels of legislation-rather than the puritanical crusade against earmarks that characterized the Boehner era. 

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