Tue, 03 Feb 2009 21:49:25 +0000 – By Ray Mullady, Jr.Attorney
To my good friend and law partner Mr. Lanny Davis,
It is no "mystery" why House members unanimously voted against the House version of the president's stimulus package. The bill's few real stimulus measures are overwhelmed by its entitlement spending features and the creation of new government programs that are short on job creation.
Lanny, let's be honest. This is a bad bill that makes the House members' unanimous opposition both understandable and, from the perspective of a growing chorus of respected individuals, laudable. House Republicans should have shown the same solidarity in opposition to the former President's disastrous Wall Street/AIG/Detroit bailouts, but it is never too late to do the work of the American people.
Perhaps having realized they should have stood up to Bad Bill 1.0, House Republicans have resolved not to be steamrolled by Bad Bill 2.0. Good for them. Our elected leaders owe us nothing less than 20-hour days in a windowless rooms with their sleeves rolled up to ensure that legislation with a $900 billion price tag is done right.
Indeed, the President hinted during his Super Bowl interview with NBC's Matt Lauer that the final version of the bill will look very different than the version unanimously rejected by the Republican House. Far from hearing the president accuse Republicans of "gotcha politics," I heard a president who believes his own party has substantial work to do with Republicans before sending him a bill for signature. Good for him, too.
The Republican House's opposition also is not "mysterious" politically. It would have been an enormous mistake for any member to have supported such an aggressively partisan bill after being shut out of the drafting process. The message to House Democrats was clear: it was nice of the president to come up here, but you are not doing yourselves or Mr. Obama any favors by refusing to work with us.
Lanny, you've coined a great catch phrase, but this was not a case of "gotcha" politics. If the Democratic majority is serious about attacking the economic crisis through sensible legislation that will truly stimulate the economy and ensure that its programs can be paid for over time, they need to go back to the drawing board and solicit Republican ideas.