WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences Monday on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.
Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.
The Senate avoided the recent custom of the minority engaging in maximum obstruction to slow down the passage of a law that has the votes to pass, and wound up voting in favor of an overhaul of Wall Street regulation last night: “The vote was 59 to 39, with four Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favor of the bill. Two Democrats opposed the measure, saying it was still not tough enough.”
Congress-watcher Norm Ornstein says the 111th Congress -- that's this one -- "is on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society 89th Congress in 1965-66." The big player here is the stimulus bill, which did more on its own than any two or three Congresses put together. But don't ignore the accomplishments of the House of Representatives: Not only did it pass a health-care reform bill, but it also passed cap-and-trade legislation and a financial regulation package.
The post below, which looks like it could be extremely important, is by Mike Konczal, author of the popular (for those in the know) Rortybomb blog, a previous guest blogger on this site, and now a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute – James