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Senator Graham on the “Stimulus”: “Well, all I can tell you is that the process stinks, and the substance of the bill sucks.”

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That’s Senator Graham’s concise summary of the porkapalooza package. The rest of the interview is here. My interview with Senator McCain is here, and with Senator Grassley is here.

Senator Graham’s assessment is that the president has “got his back against the wall now,” and that Senator Reid’s drive for cloture today or tomorrow is an attempt to stave off serious reform of the package. Reid will need at least two of the four Republican senators thought wobbly —Snowe and Collins of Maine, Specter of Pennsylvania and Voinovich of Ohio— but the example of the House may energize the GOP caucus to hang together and force through genuine restructuring of the package. All three of these states stand to benefit significantly from stimulus that is focused and effective, so there are excellent reasons why the GOP’s 41 should hang together on this front. Never has so much money been proposed for so many projects with so little scrutiny. All four of the GOP senators target by the White House have reputations for seriousness when it comes to legislation even if they are to the left of the GOP’s center. It seems unlikely that they will give in to the bum’s rush to get this mess of a bill through the Senate before the public has a chance to absorb the details and react to the specifics.


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