“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, How are thy leaves so verdant!” Charlie Brown is notorious for his taste in Christmas trees. Not that ol’ Chuck doesn’t have the right motives involved, he is of course, a block head according to leading psychiatric specialists. Well, at least in the mind of Lucy Van Pelt anyway.
Here ya go children. In the spirit of the holiday season, President Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans is becoming a Christmas tree filled to the brim with gifts for lobbyists and lawmakers. They continue to grow the government tree to bursting. I hate to keep beating a dead sleigh bell covered horse, but!
“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, You fill my heart with music.” The tax deal, reached behind the scenes now includes ethanol subsidies for corporate farms, commuter tax breaks for the cities and wind and solar grants for the environmentalists. All of this music to the ears and aimed at winning votes from reluctant Democrats.
It’s all expected to come to a decisive vote next week, total cost by the latest congressional estimate: $857.8 billion.
“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, You give us so much pleasure!” Almost $5 billion in subsidies for corn-based ethanol and a continuing tariff to protect against ethanol imports were wrapped up and placed under the tree for farm-state lawmakers and agribusiness lobbyists. Environmentalists won more grants for developers of renewable energy, like wind and solar.
And for the city folk lawmakers, there’s a continuation of tax breaks that could save mass transit commuters about $1,000 a year. Not only an almost free ride but a tax break as well. Other tax provisions are aimed at increasing production of hybrid automobiles, bio-diesel fuel, coal and energy-efficient household appliances would be extended through the end of 2011 under the new add-ons.
“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Forever true your color.” Last Christmas Eve, the U.S. Senate gave all of us Americans a lump of coal known as Obamacare. This year, they may take even more of our money to fund it. House Democrats pushed through a continuing resolution yesterday that funds Obamacare and extends overall funding for the next year.
Senate Democrats will offer an amendment to make it even worse with a full-blown omnibus appropriations bill packed with earmarks, spending increases, and even more funding for every top Obama administration priority. And the best part, yes you guess it. In keeping with the GOP’s true colors, some Senate Republicans are poised to help the Democrats pass it.
Rumors say that despite the fact Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell pulled the official Republican support for the omnibus, a group of Republican is planning to vote for the massive bloated spending bill in exchange for a parting Christmas gift of pork-barrel goodies for their states.
“For every year the Christmas tree, Brings to us all both joy and glee.” The most likely culprits are the three retiring appropriators: Kit Bond of Missouri, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Robert Bennett of Utah who will never face voters again. Plus, there’s also the highest-ranking Republican appropriator: Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
We don’t know what exactly is in the omnibus yet but we do know that Kit Bond requested 142 earmarks this year totaling over $600 million. George Voinovich requested 172 earmarks totaling over $460 million, Robert Bennett requested 321 earmarks topping $1.3 billion, and Thad Cochran, wait for it, wait for it, bam, requested a measly 712 earmarks totaling over $2.4 billion.
Other Republican senators worth worrying about identified themselves last week when they voted against the Coburn-McCaskill amendment to ban earmarks: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind..), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
“Reminding me on Christmas Day, To think of you and then be gay.” All Senators need to be forcefully reminded that this will be the first vote on funding Obamacare. This will be a signature issue in the 2012 election. Where do Republicans want to stand on this issue? Will we think of them and be happy? Yea right.
The bottom line is that this Congress had all year to do its job and pass legislation to fund the government before the November midterm elections. They wouldn’t do it then because some still needed to be re-elected and the others knew they needed the cover till they left Washington. They should not now be rewarded with a massive omnibus spending bill on their way out the door.
“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Thy candles shine out brightly!” In an interview on public radio, Minnesota’s Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison suggested that Democratic lawmakers “need to create a real crisis” to force Republicans to renegotiate President Obama’s tax cut compromise. On Thursday, a majority of House Democrats voted to reject the deal, including Ellison, the recently elected co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus.
Following the vote, Ellison said Democrats “need to create a real crisis here so that the Republicans will have to answer for denying Americans unemployment benefits on the eve of the Christmas holiday. We let them off the hook in my opinion.” He went on to say that Democrats should have bargained harder because… we’re going to fundamentally shift the income spread in this country.”
With regards to the estate tax, Ellison says Democrats are “giving away” trillions of dollars by not taxing estates at a higher rate. Really, when exactly was it “their money” anyway? They continue to let their socialist light shine don’t they?
“Each bough doth hold its tiny light, That makes each toy to sparkle bright.” And now on top of all this, outgoing Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) said Friday he’s privately discussed the prospect that Republicans would pursue their own version of the DREAM Act next year.
Bennett said he would vote for the immigration legislation, which gives immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children a conditional pathway to citizenship, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brought it to the floor under the right conditions.
If that fails, the outgoing senator said, Republicans have privately discussed the prospects of writing and passing a version of the DREAM Act that could make its way through Congress.
“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Forever true your color.” Well Merry Christmas ya filthy animals, and a Happy New Year. Looks like nothing has changed because of the 2010 elections and if we don’t keep our feet on the necks of Republican’s we can be assured that our elected government will continue to steal the freedoms and dreams of the American people and give them to those that don’t deserve it.