"House Dems Pull tax Deal from FloorForget the fact that this is politicians behaving like they do, and that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans in most cases.
December 16, 2010 12:54 P.M.
By Daniel Foster
UPDATED 2:03 PM
In the middle of debate on the Obama-McConnell tax deal, House Democrats abruptly pulled the “rule” for the bill from the House floor, moving on to consideration of a purely technical bankruptcy bill.
The move probably (probably) signals that the Democrats are short on votes to pass the rule — and hence the bill — and are now scrambling to find them.
UPDATE: Okay. Here’s what happened. Recall that the Democrats are moving the tax compromise inside the hollowed out shell of a Senate aviation bill in order to deny Republicans the procedural opportunity to offer their own alternative. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds — Speaker-Designate memorably dubbed the strategy “chicken crap.”
But now the Democrats are being hoisted by their own petard. In order to proceed as they’d like, Democrats planned on holding two votes — one on the Pomeroy amendment, which would raise the estate tax from the compromise levels, and one on the overall Senate bill. But the way the rule is written, voting ‘yea’ on the Pomeroy estate tax hike would constitute a vote for the rest of Senate bill. That is, if the Democrats have 218 votes to pass Pomeroy (an open question), the rest of the deal would pass automatically. Only if Pomeroy comes up short would there be a separate vote on the overall bill. (Take a deep breath.)
But rank-and-file liberals want to be able to support the estate tax hike while going on record against things like the extension of current tax rates for top earners.
So in the middle of debate, Rep. Gene Taylor, lame-duck Democrat of Mississippi, made a privileged motion to adjourn, and Democratic leadership used the time bought by the vote on that motion to have a huge powwow on the House floor — Hoyer, the Congressional Black Caucus, the progressives, the House parliamentarian, all were in attendance — to figure out how to proceed. When the adjournment vote ended, the Democrats pulled the tax bill from the floor, a clear sign they are short on votes."
Clearly, we are relying on people to behave honorably, when the rules should simply make this utterly and blatantly illegal and the people who do it should be charged with fraud, violation of their oath of office, and then go to jail. One good 'sting' would put an end to this crap for a long, long time.
Yeah, I know, but it's a good day for fantasizing.