December 11, 2006


To the Victors Go the Invoices: Democrats Will Gain Votes in Congress, But Paying for Their Initiatives Will Be Difficult (DAVID ROGERS, December 11, 2006, Wall Street Journal)

In the closing hours of the Republican-controlled Congress, impatient House Democrats took a swing at oil and gas interests -- a sign of things to come in January.

The punch fell wide: Their amendment, seeking to recoup royalties from energy companies drilling on federal lands, failed 207-205. There was pride in coming so close. But the defeat also betrayed a level of confusion in the new majority and fear that it won't have the resources needed to carry out its agenda after midterm election victories.

What had begun as a simple two-paragraph amendment to a tax bill had grown to fill 11 pages before it was offered with hand-scrawled notations and a new multibillion dollar provision exempting middle-income families from the alternative minimum tax through 2007.

"We'll be back with 30 more votes in a month," said Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) the chief sponsor. But the budget math won't change, and Democrats still face this question: how to pay for their initiatives and address significant fiscal problems left behind by outgoing Republicans?

For Mr. Markey, recovering billions in oil royalties is both good government and a means to pay for lower interest rates charged to students on their college loans. Continued AMT relief in 2007 is something his party also wants. But the failed amendment became a thinly disguised attempt by Democratic tax writers to charge the AMT costs to Republicans before tougher deficit-reduction rules are put in place in January.

We underestimated, even at our most optimistic, how hilarious a Democrat victory in the midterm would make the next couple years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2006 3:06 PM

That because some of didn't understand what "starve the beast" meant.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 11, 2006 4:46 PM

What had begun as a simple two-paragraph amendment to a tax bill had grown to fill 11 pages before it was offered with hand-scrawled notations [...]

C'mon OJ, you just had to have made this up.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 11, 2006 5:25 PM

Of course we understood what "Starve the Beast" meant Mr. Gots. It means being a tax collector for the welfare state, the way the GOP used to do, back before that mean Mr. Bush showed up, back when Bruno was happy. The Democrats gave out the presents, and the Republicans paid the bills. Maybe with a little more help from Bruno and his peers, things can get back to normal around here....

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 11, 2006 7:56 PM

Ted Stevens should offer to support the royalty bill in exchange for immediate drilling in ANWR. Watch the left tremble with that one.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 11, 2006 11:13 PM

Bruno has never, ever been happy.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 12, 2006 9:05 AM

The base, period, is never, ever happy.

Posted by: AC at December 12, 2006 9:19 AM
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