By Noel SheppardAssociate Editor, Newsbusters.org
A new era of almost unprecedented government spending inched perilously closer to reality Tuesday when the Senate narrowly approved an $838 billion "economic recovery" plan.
As FOXNews.com reported:
The bill passed by a vote of 61-37. Sixty votes were needed.
The fact is, this trillion-dollar spending plan is not much different than the one House Democrats passed two weeks ago. It is more costly, is loaded with slow-moving Washington spending, opens the door to scores of pet projects that taxpayers cannot afford, and is not focused on creating more jobs for families and small businesses. Even worse, its authors are trying to take advantage of the crisis in our economy to enact a series of liberal policy proposals that have nothing to do with job creation, such as reversing welfare reform and letting government ration out health care options to American families and seniors. While time is running out to get this plan right, Republicans continue to believe we can work together in a bipartisan way to let families, small businesses, job-seekers, and home-owners keep more of what they earn to create more jobs and get our economy moving again.
Although not a surprise, the scale was tipped by the new GOP Gang of Three: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.).
Sadly, in their first crucial vote of the 111thCongress, these three moderate Senators showed their true colors; in so doing they not only let down the nation, but also every other Republican in the House AND Senate who unlike them courageously voted against this irresponsible act.
With one fell swoop, they stabbed in the back every conservative in the country while making it clear that President Obama actually does have a filibuster-proof Senate despite not having the necessary 60 Democrats in his pocket.
Makes you wonder if the Gang agrees with what Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during Tuesday's proceedings:
Schumer: And let me say this, to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes, "porky" amendments. The American people really don't care.
Actually, that's not true, for according to a new Rasmussen poll, 48 percent of Americans believe increases in government spending hurt the economy as opposed to 35 percent who think it helps.
As Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) said Tuesday before the vote was cast:
Americans are asking themselves "Where does it end?" They want to know how we're going to pay for all this. They're worried. And they should be worried about a bill so big that it's equivalent to spending more than $1 million dollars a day for more than three thousand years. This is an enormous amount of money.
Yes it is, Senator. In fact, the dollars approved today are roughly the same amount the federal government spent in 1987 not including Social Security and Medicare. When you include interest payments, the total cost of this bill equals our "On-Budget" outlays in 1995!
But none of this seemed to matter to Senators Collins, Snowe, and Specter who abdicated all fiscal responsibility with their votes Tuesday.
For the past two days I've been asking my contacts on Capitol Hill that very question, and the only answer I've gotten was that the Gang caved into media pressure to not embarrass Obama.
The way it's been described to me, the Capitol was an absolute zoo last Friday. As it appeared Senate Republicans were going to band together against this bill much as their House brethren before them, frantic press members camped outside the offices of Collins, Snowe, and Specter.
Everywhere these three went, they were hounded by Obama-loving media begging them not to hand the new president a defeat.
Although it is certainly conjecture that this pressure was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, the mere possibility should scare the heck out of Americans on both sides of the aisle.
After the disgraceful way media behaved during last year's presidential campaign -- basically aiding and abetting the efforts of one candidate -- do they now have the power to enact his legislation, too?
Noel Sheppard is the associate editor of the MediaResearchCenter's NewsBusters.org. He welcomes feedback at email@example.com.