It’s one of the most important debates–perhaps the most important–underway in Washington right now: How much should the government spend to stimulate the sputtering U.S. economy, even at the expense of driving up our alarmingly large deficit? Senate Republicans, having had more than enough of federal spending, this week used a filibuster to stymie some modestly stimulative aid to the states proposed by Democrats, which among other things included extended unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of people but would add about $30 billion to the deficit. Now it appears that House Democrats might take another whack, but with a stripped down version of the bill that will help out some unemployed folks but do precious little to goose the overall economy. (Here’s an argument against being complacent about aid to states in the throes of budget emergencies.)
The AP’s account, by the way, gives more fodder to those liberals who argue that its pointless trying to negotiate with Congressional Republicans who keep leaving Democrats at the altar on everything from health care to financial regulation:
The legislation had been sharply pared back after weeks of negotiations with GOP moderates Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, but they were not persuaded to support the measure.