Did I just see a blue bird on John Boehner's shoulder? Maybe a Disney character or two scamper by in the background?
No? Sorry, caught up in the moment I guessafter all, he sure was. The speaker seemed practically giddy Friday when he walked by a camera stake-out position and loudly sang "Zip-a-dee do dah, Zip-a-dee aymy, oh mywhat a wonderful day!"
Truly, this happened. And while he didn't make any post-Super Bowl "I'm going to Disney World" type exclamation afterhe was very, very upbeat.Maybe it's because he knew his holiday plans were still on course but the more likely reason is because the GOP chalked up a big 'W' on the fight over cash on Capitol Hill.
You see, the Democrats and the President wanted very much to get a bill extending the payroll tax-cuts and unemployment insurance benefits passed BEFORE any spending bill made it through.
That would give them the upper hand in how the bills were crafted and possibly keep the controversial Keystone XL Oil Pipeline provision out of the payroll legislation.
That's the project that starts in Canada and reaches Texas creating tens of thousands of jobs according to Republicans. (Critics say it could be only 3,500 jobs).
Either way, the GOP as one member put it "forced" negotiators in conference on the one-trillion dollar spending bill (void or earmarks) to sign on the dotted line. Within a couple of hours the House passed it and sent it to the Senate. The Dems lost their leverage. The payroll argument is next and the GOP isn't budging on the oil attachment.
Regardless of the 'payroll tax' deal though, shouldn't we be thrilled that we got an omnibus agreement?
Depends who you ask.
Speaker Boehner called this not necessarily a perfect process, but said it was bipartisan and commendable but firmly placed his feet in cement on the next big battle over Keystone:
I'm guessing you can predict the Democrats response was not of a pleased tone.
Reps. Pelosi, Hoyer & Clyburn emerged to proclaim this the Republican-controlled house orchestrated this last minute panic and has gone 346 days without a significant job creating agenda. Not to mention, this hard-hitting label that was even put in the monitors in the background of the press conference:
"I think this is a made up crisis by the Republicans. This could have all been avoided a long time ago," she added.
And things were no rosier over at the White House. Press Secretary Jay Carney pressed repeatedly that the oil pipeline has nothing to do with extending payroll tax cuts to $160 million. Although he would NOT rule out the possibility that a reluctant President Obama might still sign a bill containing the rider.
IEthe holidays won't be filled with cheer for one of the two parties, or neither. And time to get both of these deals inked is running out quickly.
So what do we take away from all this?
1-Just like a child who procrastinated on a science fair project might have to work through the weekend, many members of Congress will have to cancel their evening flights out of town.including the President whose family will head to Hawaii without him-for now.2-Faith in our government will take another, unfortunate and perhaps unnecessary hit.3-The more things change, the more they stay the same. Oh, Washington.