As Congress flees town for Thanksgiving, American workers earn a temporary reprieve from Republican attempts to defund the (workplace) police. And the U.S. Government earns a temporary reprieve from a shutdown — with Democratic help.
This morning, after hours of votes on amendments yesterday and today, the worker, child and woman-hostile Labor-Education-Health and Human Services Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bill was pulled from the House floor before a vote as God’s Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson realized that there weren’t enough Republican votes to pass it.
Labor appropriations bill pulled from the House floor before a vote as God’s Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, realized that there weren’t enough Republican votes to pass it.
Moderate Republicans signaled their distaste for a bill larded with draconian budget cuts and crazy anti-abortion amendments — as well as amendments that would have defunded OSHA, stopped work on MSHA’s silica standard and reduced the pay of OSHA and MSHA heads to $1. (But not before cooler heads defeated Rep. Mary Miller’s amendment to reduce the salary of OSHA Assistant Secretary Doug Parker to $1.)
The thought of losing their next election, combined with the lure of roast turkey and jet planes gassed up and ready to whisk them home was too much for moderate Republicans and doomed the bill (for now.)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who sits on the appropriations subcommittee in charge of the bill, said even staunch conservatives were uneasy with the deep cuts to school, medical and other programs that constituents depend upon.
“It cuts some $60 billion and that bothers some people — a lot of people,” he said. “In particular, the Violence Against Women Act. They took out the funding for that.”
Their “no” votes would have been more than enough to tank the bill given Republicans’ three-vote majority in the House and unanimous opposition from Democrats, who blasted the cuts to public health and research programs, and its anti-abortion and other culture war policy riders.
Meanwhile, bills to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Housing, Transportation and the Food and Drug Administration were also withdrawn from the floor because they didn’t have enough Republican support — as well as anger at Republican leadership for yet again depending on Democrats to pass a continuing resolutions (until early next year) to keep the government open — without crippling budget cuts.
Good news for workers and others, but really bad news for Republicans in the House who, despite their commitment to passing all 12 appropriations bills separately, can’t seem to get enough of their own members to pass their own bills. And if they can’t even pass these bills — which were terrible even before the even more terrible amendments — how do they expect to pass budget bills that won’t be laughed out of the Democratically-controlled Senate side?
No one knows.
What good is winning the majority if you’re too dysfunctional to govern?
It used to almost unheard of for House leadership to pull a bill from the floor at the last minute due to lack of support from the Majority party that’s supposed to be in control. Now it’s practically a daily occurrence.
I’m pretty sure it never happened during Nancy Pelosi’s long reign, much of which had majorities just as narrow as what the Republicans have now. I’m pretty sure lots of Republicans legislators are now praying for a Speaker of the House with even half the skills that Pelosi had.
Let’s just sit back and enjoy the festive Republican dumpster fire that makes this season so special.
So now we wait. Again.
All of this budget stuff can seem kind of boring. But it has real, life and death consequences for American workers.
Because, at some point, if the government shuts down or the budgets of OSHA and MSHA get cut, real workers will suffer real injuries, illnesses and deaths that could have been prevented by agencies that are funded adequately to fulfill their missions of protecting workers.
But for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the festive Republican dumpster fire that makes this season so special. And focus on spending quality time with our families for Thanksgiving.