12 December 2008

Grand Theft Auto D.C. Fails (For Now)

Grand Theft Auto D.C. (that's what I'm calling the auto bailout bill) could not get cloture in the Senate last night. The final vote was 52-35, with 12 not voting. This has Democrats upset, and they are pointing their fingers at the Republicans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement after the bill was blocked, saying: "Senate Republicans' refusal to support the bipartisan legislation passed by the House and negotiated in good faith with the White House, the Senate and the automakers is irresponsible, especially at a time of economic hardship. The consequences of the Senate Republicans' failure to act could be devastating to our economy, detrimental to workers, and destructive to the American automobile industry unless the president immediately directs Secretary Paulson to explore other short-term financial assistance options, including TARP and those available to the Federal Reserve. That is the only viable option available at this time."

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said a "lot of people are going to get hurt by this."

"It will be a long time before I forget these votes," Dodd said. "Of all the filibusters that occurred this session, this one will have more economic impact."
While I applaud many of the Republicans for finding their collective spines to stand against this bailout, the fact of the matter is that 10 of the 49 Republicans in the Senate voted for cloture. That means that 20% of Senate Republicans voted for cloture.

Speaker Pelosi, Senator Dodd, and any other Democrat can cast dispersions all they want, but the Democrats could have gotten cloture if they had secured eight more votes. And where could they have gotten those eight more votes? From eight Senate Democrats, that's where.

Senate Democrats Who Voted No
Max Baucus (MT)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Harry Reid (NV)
Jon Tester (MT)

Senate Democrats Who Did Not Vote
Joe Biden (DE)
Ted Kennedy (MA)
John Kerry (MA)
Ron Wyden (OR)
There are your eight votes for cloture, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Dodd, and all of them are Democrats. And, really, Reid only voted against it for procedural reasons, so there were actually only seven Democrat votes to secure.

Madame Speaker, don't blame Republicans for the failure of your leadership in the Senate to convince three Democrats to vote yes and four other Democrats to actually cast a vote. The refusal of those seven Democrats to "support the bipartisan legislation passed by the House and negotiated in good faith with the White House, the Senate and the automakers" is what prevented 60 votes for cloture, Speaker Pelosi. Twenty-percent of Senate Republicans did what those seven Democrats did not, so take care at where you direct your venom.

Senator Dodd, I would hope that when you state that "[i]t will be a long time before I forget these votes," that you are actually talking about the no votes and the non-votes of those few Democrats who prevented cloture. After all, Senator, you secured the support of ten Republicans for cloture, and with 50 senators caucusing with your party, this cloture vote was the Democrats to lose.

I'm happy that Grand Theft Auto D.C. has failed for now. It will be back, unfortunately, and with an Obama administration and a few less Republicans in Congress, the next time the auto bailout package may be worse than this bill and easier for the Democrats to pass.

Make sure, though, that when you hear people parroting the spin of Democrats such as Pelosi or Dodd, that you bring those people back to reality with the simple facts that 20% of Senate Republicans voted for cloture, and that the eight votes needed could have easily been achieved if four Democrats had not voted against cloture, and if four Democrats (including Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry) had bothered to vote. It wasn't the Senate Republicans who killed this. Frighteningly enough, if all of the Senate Democrats had pulled together, Senate Republicans would have been the ones who made cloture possible.

Fight their spin with the facts.



Joe of St. Thérèse said...

If the auto companies get a bailout, i'll expect mine in the mail within the week ;)

USMC 9971 said...

I'm nearly certain that the Bush administration will fund Grand Theft Auto D.C. from TARP funds since Congress couldn't get a bill through.

It is interesting that the $14 billion bailout comes out to about $45 per American, about $100 per taxpayer, and about $46,000 per auto worker.

Some are more equal than others.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Interesting how that math works out..I can only say this is unconstiutional if this is done.