Politics

Republicans Shut Out of Stimulus Conference Negotiations

Republicans have caught the Democrats in a midnight “stimulus” power play that seeks to cut Republican conferees out of the House-Senate negotiations to resolve a final version of the Obama “stimulus” package. Staff members from the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met last night to put together the “stimulus” conference report.

They intend to attempt to shove this $1.3 trillion spending bill through in the dead of the night without Republican input so floor action can take place in both chambers on Thursday.

I spoke with House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) moments ago about this latest version of Democratic “bipartisanship.” Pence told me, “I think the American people deserve to know that legislation that would comprise an amount equal to the entire discretionary budget of the United States of America is being crafted without a single House Republican in the room.”

Some Republicans reportedly were in the late-night conference. But — at least from the Senate — the official Republican conferees were excluded. HUMAN EVENTS has received e-mail confirmations from the staffs of both Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.) saying that they had no participation in the conference.

Today, the House-Senate deal was announced in a press conference held by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid especially praised Susan Collins for her tireless work in developing the $789 billion deal.

UPDATED: The deal was Snowe’s and Collins’s, according to a Senate source. Sen. Specter, who had been in Harry Reid’s office for an earlier meeting on the compromise, left at about 7 p.m. At 8:45 p.m., there was another meeting at which Sens. Snowe and Collins were the only Republicans present. They made the deal, and Specter signed on to it later. He had given an indication of the deal earlier that evening in an MSNBC interview.

No House Republicans were at either meeting.

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