OK, so last night the Economic Stimulus bill passed the Senate by a vote of 60-38. The vote was held up because Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown had to fly back from his mother's wake to be the deciding vote. Apparently the GOP, who ironically label themselves "The Party of Family Values", couldn't be bothered to cough up one more lousy vote so Sen. Brown could be with his family at this very sad time.
Also, former Sen. Norm Coleman's GOP-endorsed strategy of arguing every single ballot in the Minnesota election recount has prevented Al Franken's inevitable seating in the Senate, where he would have been the 60th vote for the bill and allowed Brown to mourn properly.
And the bill didn't gain a SINGLE Republican vote in the House, despite the Democrats gutting over $50 billion from the bill, which goes to show you that the GOP doesn't believe in any form of compromise unless it involves total capitulation. Among the senators voting against it was Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, who withdrew this week as the president’s nominee for commerce secretary.
Lesson learned. I doubt we'll see anything similar from the House Democrats any time soon, until the Republicans learn the true meaning of compromise. President Obama has already indicated that he'll control the message from here on in. Apparently, it's the only way you can get through to House Republicans.
So the bill will appear on the President's desk shortly. Then they can get on with trying to save the economy. Which is a tall order, and success will only be measured in degrees of effectiveness. Nothing is going to magically tix our failing economy overnight, that's for sure.
That's the big question. Once the money starts flowing, people will be watching to see how many new jobs are created, how many existing jobs are saved, and how much the bill is going to help put liquidity into the economy and ease up credit. I expect it will be a while before we see results.