Lucy snatches the football again

Looks as if the bailout is going to fail to pass the House because the Republican leadership won’t or can’t deliver even half of their members’ votes.

As I suspected, the Republican leadership in the house double-crossed Pelosi (or simply couldn’t deliver their own members). They promised 90 votes from their side of the aisle; right now they have 66 Looks as if the bailout isn’t going to carry, though Pelosi (unwisely, I think) is pulling one of those illegal “keeping the vote open” maneuvers we so hated when Hastert used to do it.

Now’s the time to pull the bill, go back to committee, write a new bill financing the whole thing with a transactions tax, and pass it with only Democratic votes. It shouldn’t be a hard sell to make Wall Street pay for bailing out Wall Street. And the Senate Republicans and the White House are pretty much stuck with whatever the House passes.

If we had a President, his inability to get more than a third of his own partisans to vote for what he says is emergency legislation would count as a massive failure of Presidential leadership. John McCain, having flown back to Washington for no particular purpose, also has egg on his face. I can’t blame the Dems who voted against this; we got a majority of ours behind an Administration proposal, and they couldn’t get more than a third of theirs. No reason Democrats should walk the plank.

Update Yes, it’s over. According to NPR, Roy Blunt sat on his hands while his guys voted agaist it. Dem leadership doesn’t seem to have had a fallback plan in mind. May revote today.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: