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Porkulus Two follies: Harry Reid’s irony-filled snit fit

By Michelle Malkin  •  February 12, 2010 09:53 AM

This is what desperation looks like, via the Washington Times:

A bipartisan group of senators forged agreement on a jobs bill that drew the White House’s blessing Thursday – but hours later Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scuttled the deal and replaced it with his own Democrat-written measure.

Scrambling to show Democrats are taking action to lower the 9.7 percent unemployment rate, Mr. Reid said the bipartisan proposal strayed too far from job creation and into special-interest giveaways.

“The message is so watered down, with people wanting other things in this big package that we’re going to have to come back and finish [the jobs agenda later],” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters. He said there is no reason for Republicans to oppose the smaller bill.

But Republicans said it was an about-face for Mr. Reid and accused him of kicking bipartisanship to the curb despite his and President Obama’s repeated calls for the parties to work together. They said Mr. Reid had initially signed off on the measure, crafted by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee.

Mr. Reid’s move “throws sand in the gears of bipartisan negotiation,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Grassley said.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, tried to offer the Baucus-Grassley jobs proposal on the Senate floor Thursday night but Mr. Reid blocked him. Instead, Mr. Reid set the table for a partisan fight on his version, which would forgive Social Security payroll taxes for new hires who had been unemployed at least 60 days, fund highway and infrastructure projects and extend tax benefits to small businesses. He scheduled a vote to head of a potential Republican filibuster on Feb. 22 vote – the day the Senate returns from a weeklong holiday. And Mr. Reid used parliamentary tactics to foreclose the chance for Republicans to offer amendments to his bill.

Ironies abound. In rejecting the barely “bipartisan” (as Ed Morrissey points out) “compromise” plan for the $100 billion Porkulus Two in favor of a stripped-down $15 billion version, Reid appears more fiscally responsible than his cohorts on either side of the aisle and the White House, which had endorsed Baucus-Grassley. But in trampling all over the deliberative process to get his bill done by any means necessary, Reid exposes the ultimate folly of the entire exercise. The point isn’t job creation and stimulation — remember the key features remain a $20 billion bailout of the Highway Trust Fund and anti-job tax gimmicks.

The point of Harry Reid’s plan is to save Harry Reid’s hide.

And that, praise be, looks more hopeless than ever.

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Categories: Enviro-nitwits, fiscal stimulus, Politics