Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Upcoming Iraq Spending Bill: Clyburn's First Big Test as Whip...


OK, I'm getting a little jealous of everyone getting on SC Hotline except me. Therefore, I will throw my partisan hat away for a post and discuss a topic without a slanted view. Mike Green, this one is for you, buddy!
This week, the first shots of the new spending bill for the War on Terror begin this week. After weeks of wrangling, the Democratic leadership will have a test vote in the House Appropriations Committee, and a vote in the full House is expected next week. In a tightly contested house, the Democrats have a tricky balancing act to keep Liberals, who feel the bill does not go far enough, and Blue Dogs, who feel it goes too far, from voting against it. In the words of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, "We're going to be whipping and counting votes, and I think we're going to get the votes." When you use the specific term 'whipping', you are referring to one person - your Majority Whip. This will be the first big challenge to Jim Clyburn to keep his party in line, and it will be needed to fight off a seemingly united Republican Party.
Up to this vote, the legislation presented by the Democrats have been pretty simple and populist. Clyburn has had a pretty easy time currying up positive results to this point. It all ends here. This is not a bill where everyone is in agreement, except on the other side of the aisle, where the GOP is solidly against any type of bill that 1) Gives any impression that the insurgency can wait the forces in Iraq out. 2) Will hamper President Bush and Gen Petraeus' ability to win the war. Jim sure has his work cut out. The bill is getting more and more different every day to attract more votes, but with it, it becomes less what the Democrats really want.
Already, the Democratic leadership has modified the bill to exclude requiring the President to get congressional approval for any moves against Iran, a major threat to Israel. They also dropped language that would discontinue funding after the Fall of 2008, a move that may cost votes from the more liberal members of Congress. When you try to cast a net that is only so wide, there is a tendency to lose a few fish when you throw it out. There are an unknown number of Democrats who will not vote for the bill. If it gets to 15 or 20, then Clyburn will not win this one. There is a long list of legislation that failed due to the majority not being able to keep their side together - Universal Health Care, Social Security Reform. This is not a slam-dunk issue, and Clyburn's reputation in The Loop as a unifier will be put to it toughest test yet.
Whether this bill was created by Nancy Pelosi, Liberal Democrats or even Clyburn himself, a 900 pound gorilla has been dropped in his lap only 60 days into his term. If he loses, his reputation will be tarnished. Don't believe me? Ask Hillary Clinton if Health Care still drags her down. However, if Clyburn pulls this off, his stock will rise as the man who addressed the tug-of-war involving a not-so-popular bill, and got it passed. Which way will it go? Stay tuned........
My head hurts from all this non-partisanism...........

4 comments:

Moye said...

My head hurts just from reading it. Or was it the beer during the Toby Keith concert at the Houston Rodeo this evening. Maybe it was worrying about Lance Mackey and the lead he has at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. More serious I hope Clyburn fails at this for sure.

Mike Reino said...

My guess is that it falls short. This bill is no winner. Politics is a lot like NASCAR - catchin's one thing, leadin's another....

Moye said...

Not for LANCE MACKEY he won the Iditarod hands down. His Father won this race way back I believe by one second and also his brother won this race. He should be Athlete of the year. Clyburn should be Jerk of the year.

Mike Reino said...

Moye, you know a lot about sled dog racing.....and politics!