Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Most Members Of Congress Are Relieved That Another Government Shutdown Has Been Averted-- But Not The Far Right Extremists


North Carolina right-wing ideologue Mark Meadows opposes the bipartisan compromise

Late Sunday night, congressional staffers announced that Democratic and Republican negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement to fund government operations through September to the tune of over a trillion dollars, while ignoring Señor Trumpanzee's demands for money for the wall he repeatedly promised his voters Mexico would be paying for. The deal also rejected all Trump's crackpot proposals to cut popular domestic programs. In fact, the agreement will substantially increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, which Trump had targeted for 2 billion dollars in cuts. It will also reimburse local police departments who are forced to protect Trump and his awful family when they travel around running their kleptocracy. The NY Times was quick to observe that "The spending package would be the first significant bipartisan measure approved by Congress during the Trump presidency. Republicans, despite having control of both houses of Congress and the White House, were unable to pass any marquee legislation in the president’s first 100 days. The deal should spare Republicans the embarrassment of seeing the government shut down on their watch. But it also gave a glimpse of the reluctance of lawmakers to bend to Mr. Trump’s spending priorities, like his desire for sharp cuts to domestic programs, with the increase in funding for medical research a prime example."
Though the spending agreement saves the president and congressional Republicans from the specter of a shutdown during a period of one-party rule, it does deprive Mr. Trump of a major victory on the border wall, and Democrats seemed pleased with how they fared.

“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said in a statement. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison-pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.”

He added that Democrats had “clearly laid out our principles” early in the debate, and argued that the final measure “reflects those principles.”

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, cheered the deal as a “sharp contrast to President Trump’s dangerous plans to steal billions from lifesaving medical research” and expressed relief that the bill would not pay for an “immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force.”
Negotiators also agreed to make a permanent fix for miners health insurance, something Sherrod Brown was adamant be included in the deal and which had been opposed by McConnell until Friday, and to provide $295 million for Puerto Rico Medicaid. There is increased funding for Pell Grants, for transit infrastructure grants and to fight the opioid epidemic, primarily pushed by Democrats, hated by extreme right lunatics but embraced by most mainstream conservatives. Trump backed off his huffing and puffing about cutting off Obamacare subsidies (at least for now). Both houses of Congress will be voting on the bill by the end of the week.

Republican extremists are already screaming they've been betrayed. Far right fanatic Jim Jordan (R-OH) was on CNN Monday Morning predicting there would be opposition from the radical right-- which, of course, is the reason Ryan and McConnell had to go to Pelosi and Schumer for a deal. Jordan was moaning that "money goes to Planned Parenthood... Money continues to go to sanctuary cities, but no money for the border wall. I think you're gong to see a lot of conservatives be against this plan this week."

One congressman expected to scream the loudest against the bipartisan deal is North Carolina extremist Mark Meadows, head of the Freedom Caucus. He's a sworn enemy of Planned Parenthood and, in the most knee-jerk fashion, opposes any spending on any projects that help ordinary working families. We contacted the progressive Democrat running for the seat Meadows currently occupies, Matt Coffay and he told us that "while Meadows said earlier this month that he didn't anticipate a government shutdown, that was also when Trump's border wall was still on the table, and a version 2.0 repeal of the Affordable Care Act was still in the works. Meadows was responsible for the government shutdown in 2013 that cost the U.S. over $20 billion, including hundreds of millions of dollars of lost funding here in North Carolina. That was over the issue of the Affordable Care Act, which this budget will continue to fund. Whether Meadows supports the bill or not, it looks as though it will pass. As a member of Congress, I'll work to ensure that government spending serves the interests of working families."

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