I was surprised to see that four Texas Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against the majority of their party to pass the measure. They are Kevin Brady from District 8, Pete Sessions from District 32, Lamar Smith from District 21 and Mac Thornberry from District 13. These are not moderate Republicans, there’s no such thing anymore, but they are all entrenched incumbents from safe districts, all with about twenty years in the House. I couldn’t say whether this is a show of statesmanship or just four guys who couldn’t bring themselves to inflict a big hurt on their own stock portfolios, but I’d say they done right this time.
My Representative, District 22’s Pete Olson, voted against the measure. This is what one would expect after seeing him stammering pole-axed in front of a town hall meeting full of restive teabaggers. Olson isn’t afraid of Democrats tossing him out of office; he’s in Tom DeLay’s old redder-than-hell district where the Democrats have been unable to run anything but a nutty no-name LaRouche democrat against him the last two elections. But he’s petrified that some raw-meat wingnut with out-of-state moneybags might knock him out of a Republican primary.
As for the bill itself, it falls a little short on the global leadership scale, but does a few good things. It raises income, capital gains and estate taxes on high-income taxpayers. As the great Juanita Jean said:
“We’ve had the lowest tax rate on the rich for twelve years now and where the hell are the jobs? Where the hell is the trickle-down? These guys did not create jobs, they created Swiss bank accounts.”
The two-year-old payroll tax holiday will end now, costing most workers about $20 a week, but this measure has been a drain on the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, which only encourages those who would eliminate these vital programs.
Other measures in this one one-hundred and fifty-seven page bill would prevent a cut in Medicaid payments made to doctors, continue unemployment payments to some long-term unemployed and extend the expiring Farm Bill to prevent the price of milk rising to twice that of gasoline. The deadline for yet-to-be-specified spending cuts has been kicked two months down the road so the Congress can play monkey knife fight with the White House again as the latest debt ceiling limit runs out. Buckle your seat belts.