Thursday, December 19, 2013

Republican Senators, the budget deal, and the unemployed

Profiles in Cowardice.

Eleven of the 12 sitting Republican senators facing re-election next year voted against the bipartisan budget agreement, which passed Wednesday with 64 votes. 

The “No” votes included:

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana
Sen. James Risch of Idaho
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi

The only Republican senator facing re-election in 2014 who supported the agreement was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate who will likely not face a serious primary challenge next spring.

The budget deal -- the first one passed by the Senate in over four years in almost nine months -- did not fund benefits for the long-term unemployed, but does blunt the short-term effects of the sequester, particularly for defense contractors.  The conservatives moaned and groaned anyway.

Before the vote, many outside groups on the right, notably the Club for Growth, Heritage Action and FreedomWorks, panned the budget plan and promised to punish lawmakers who supported it. (The bill, which sets spending levels through fiscal year 2015, would replace much of the budget caps instituted in the Budget Control Act. The move would effectively loosen up much of the spending restrictions under “sequestration,” a policy many conservatives generally liked because it reined in federal spending.)

When the attitude of some in the GOP is to put children to work mopping floors at their schools in exchange for lunch, you can understand why the Scrooges and Grinches this holiday season seem even more hard-hearted than usual.

Egberto is much harsher on the Democrats in the budget negotiation than I am.

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