House Republicans sweated out a victory on a major budget cut bill in the wee hours Friday, salvaging a major pillar of their agenda despite divisions within the party and nervousness among moderates that the vote could cost them in next year's elections.
The bill, passed 217-215 after a 25-minute-long roll call, makes modest but politically painful cuts across an array of programs for the poor, students and farmers.
The victory on the deficit-control bill came hours after an embarrassing and rare defeat on a $602 billion spending bill for education, health care and job training programs this year. The earlier 224-209 vote halted what had been a steady drive to complete annual appropriations bills freezing many agency budgets.
The reason the vote stretched into the "wee hours of the morning" was because there were a few sane Republicans that were clearly bothered by the prospect of screwing the lower classes; they didn't feel comfortable voting for this Atrocity; but in the end enough of them caved to their greedy overlords.
The Democrats were united in opposition to this egregious act of filth, by the way. Not only do they refuse to kick the poor while they're already down, they are thinking responsibly when it comes to managing the Bush Deficit. This is open warfare in the Capitol, and we're only seeing a glimpse of the Republican's reverse-Robin Hood strategy.
The companion deficit-reduction bill also drew unanimous opposition from Democrats, who objected to both cuts in programs for the poor and the fact that the deficit-reduction bill would increase the deficit when combined with a tax slated for a vote later that would extend tax cuts on capital gains and dividend income due to expire at the end of 2008.
"Name just one religion in the world that preaches the value of asking the most of those who have the least and asking nothing of those who have the most," said Chet Edwards, D-Texas. "Sadly, that is what this budget does."
Amen to that, Chet.