Today, the House, by a vote of 272 - 142, gave Bush $70 billion to continue his war in Iraq, and they gave him the money unconditionally, with no strings attached.
No timelines for withdrawal or even simple draw downs...
No benchmarks for success, not even the faux benchmarks that were used to rationalize a continuation of funding last spring.
78 Democrats, including AZ's Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords, crossed over and sided with the Republicans to issue the blank check to Bush.
Today's roll over on the Iraq war alone would normally be enough to make this a shameful day for the Democrats in Congress, but they kept on giving Bush and his cronies gifts....
...The House also passed S2499, the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 by a vote of 411 - 3. The fact that every Democrat present voted for the bill represented a unamimous capitulation in the fight to improve SCHIP.
...The House also approved a Senate amendment to HR3996, the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 (aka - Alternative Minimum Tax [AMT] relief) by a vote of 352 - 64. That amendment is a symbol of the Democratic leadership's abject surrender in its stated quest for a fiscally responsible Congress.
The AMT is slated to impact approximately 23 million middle- and upper-income households this year, which is approximately 22,999,845 households more than it was originally targeted towards.
Democrats in Congress proposed a relief package that would have protected middle-class taxpayers (something that everyone in Congress supported) while compensating for the lost tax revenue by closing a tax loophole that allowed managers of offshore hedge funds to hide their incomes, well, offshore.
Did I mention that top hedge fund managers make more than $100 million per year? Virtually tax-free?
Needless to say, the Republicans in Congress were aghast at that idea, and today were joined by 157 Democrats (including the entire AZ delegation, except for the absent Ed Pastor) in approving a fiscally-irresponsible Senate amendment that expanded the budget deficit but protected ultra-wealthy hedge fund managers.
Bloomberg.com coverage of the AMT vote here.
Looking at events of this week, combined with the year-long collaboration with the Bushies, perhaps it's time for the Democratic Party to establish a new caucus within the party, one that someone can gain membership to simply by getting elected to Congress (House or Senate).
Call it "The Vichy Caucus."
Note - Here I was, feeling all clever and witty with the "Vichy" reference/insult, only to find that someone else beat me to it, almost two years ago. Damn, there goes the potential licensing income. :))