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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

Posted February 1, 2009 | 01:33 PM (EST)

34 GOP Senators Oppose the Recovery Plan, Caving to Their Demands is Useless


Just as House Republicans did, GOP Senators are now pretending they'll vote for the economic recovery package if only those unreasonable Democrats would toss them a bone or two. For the most part, they are lying. They will kick and scream for every concession possible, creating a new faux outrage every few hours. Foolishly, Democrats will likely cave to some of these demands. Then, Republicans will vote against the bill overwhelmingly. It is difficult to imagine anything more sinister than this. They are essentially weakening the bill as much as possible, making it less likely to work. Then they'll bail at the last second, in case it does fail, so they can point their fingers and assign all of the blame to Democrats.

At least 34 Republican Senators are on the record in opposition to the plan. They have their talking points, and message discipline is almost absolute. If you watch the talking heads shows today you'll see that the full press to discredit this package is well underway. Two lone voices of sanity in the GOP stand out in support of the economic recovery package: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Martinez, as far as I can tell, is actually undecided. I need your help verifying this information and finding/soliciting statements from the other Senators. If you can find a statement that indicates support or opposition from Barrasso, Johanns, Lugar or Specter - or a better statement from any Republican Senator - post it in the comments.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress have a responsibility to push through the strongest bill possible. Caving to unreasonable Republican demands at the last minute - in a hapless attempt to pick up votes that can't be picked up - is counterproductive and irresponsible. I really hope they have enough political courage to cut those who don't negotiate in good faith out of the discussions, and advance the strongest bill possible. We're told elections have consequences. It is time for Democrats to prove that they understand this.

Update: Much more on this from Chris Bowers, Kagro X, Nate Silver, Digby and Jason Rosenbaum.