You know ... if it weren't for the fact that the House Republicans are screwing around with the lives of the poor, this would be entirely amusing. As it is, although it does have its amusing aspects, it's mostly the sort of thing that will piss off many many people, including the White House.
DeLay is playing hardball politics with a president of his own party. To be sure, in theory, he's playing hardball with the Senate, but in practice, since Bush has already directed both houses to get this issue off the table, it's with the president.
G.O.P. Leader Brushes Off Pressure by Bush on Taxes(NY Times, June 10, 2003, registration required): A powerful Republican leader in the House today dismissed pressure from the White House to pass a Senate bill that would provide child tax credits for low-income working people. The action highlights a potential clash between President Bush's desire for legislative achievements ahead of next year's election and demands from conservatives in his party. The House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, rejected a demand from the administration that the House pass the Senate bill, which would provide an increased child tax credit to 6.5 million low-income families. [...] Reminded at a news conference that Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, had said that Mr. Bush wanted the House to pass the Senate bill quickly, Mr. DeLay reacted derisively. "The last time I checked, he doesn't have a vote," Mr. DeLay said of Mr. Fleischer.
Well ... effectively, he was saying that about the president, wasn't he? After all, Fleischer was only relaying the wishes of the president.
Frankly, the puzzlement is the way the House is approaching it. To be sure, doing it this way would pull the tax bills overall off the table as an issue; if the Senate approved a tax bill that wold add nearly another $100 million to the deficit, the Democrats could hardly squawk, since the approval of at least some of them would be required, with the 60 votes required under Senate budget rules. But even allowing that raising customs fees is a tax increase of a sort, it's an extraordinarily esoteric one. Somehow, I can't imagine that given the presentation that relief for poor children can be paid for by raising an esoteric tax that doesn't appear to affect that many people, and giving relief that simply adds to the deficit so that we have less money available for any programs... frankly, I can't see how the Republicans can possibly win that public opinion battle. Nor should they, really.Posted by iain at June 11, 2003 01:37 PM