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House passes downsized jobs bill


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Democrats narrowly won House approval Friday of a nearly $90 billion jobs and tax package, capping days of turmoil that split the party and called into question its ability to effectively lead on budget and economic issues.

For the once activist House, the changed mood is quite extraordinary as if many members want only to hunker down and wait out November’s elections — still five months away. Going into Memorial Day, the budget process has all but collapsed, and an emergency war funding bill — requested in February — has yet to be even considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

The scaled-back jobs package, adopted 215-204, is roughly half of what had been envisioned just a week ago. And the internal divisions — and resulting delays — killed any chance of Congress completing action before hundreds of thousands of workers begin to lose their jobless benefits June 2.

The Senate left early for the holiday recess, meaning a June 1 deadline threatening Medicare payments to physicians will also go unmet. On a second 245-171 vote Friday, the House approved a $22.9 billion patch to forestall this reduction through 2011, but here too, nothing can be enacted until the Senate returns June 7.

The numbers are severe. The National Employment Law Project estimates that 340,000 workers will be impacted early by the disruption in jobless benefits; if no solution is found, a total of 1.2 million could be impacted by the end of June. For physicians, the threatened Medicare cut will begin to be felt by mid-month and that means a 21% reduction under the erratic formula that now governs reimbursements.

Nonetheless, the costs also are real, and the joint House-Senate Democratic leadership — which had banked on using these same deadlines to force action — badly underestimated the fear in their caucuses over deficits and spending.

The "Majority party" squeaks through again.
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"and called into question its ability to effectively lead on budget and economic issues."


:lmfao: Oh, so this vote called that into question. Never would have thought that of them before.

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