No one ever accused Senate Republican moderates of being savvy negotiators. The actual total amount of the Senate bill appears to be $827B — and with interest it is over $1 trillion. Here is what Susan Collins said in support of it:
Collins said she could not vote for the $819 billion stimulus bill that passed the House last week. “It was bloated, expensive and ineffective,” she said.
“This compromise greatly improves the bill,” she said. “It will help our economy recover from a dangerous recession. It will help Americans throughout this country who are struggling because they have lost their jobs.”
But, it’s more now, right?
Then there is Arlen Specter, who seems less oblivious to his constituents than one might suspect. But he just doesn’t care:
Specter acknowledged that support for the package is “a very unpopular vote” among his constituents and that some aspects of the bill “give me heartburn.” But he added, “I believe we have to act, and that under the circumstances this is the best we can do.”
Actually, it’s not the best they can do. If Specter had insisted that more non-stimulative spending be eliminated or more tax cuts inserted he probably could have gotten it through.
There is no text yet available for the bill so it’s hard to tell how much “better” it is. But I think it’s fairly clear that it isn’t what it was advertised to be: temporary, targeted, and timely. It is the Democrats’ bill and they will live with its consequences.