Congress Suddenly Becomes Frugal

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Last night, for the second time, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to 5 million people and prevent doctors from scheduled cuts in Medicare payments. This bill came at a cost of $120 billion and would have added $55 billion to the debt over ten years — less than the $80 billion of the initial bill, which bombed earlier in the week without the support of twelve Democrats. The Democrats were unified this time and thought they had a couple of Republicans onboard. They were sorely mistaken. Republicans offered their own version of the bill, but one that was paid for with $140 billion in appropriations cuts, which "were so deep that budget analysts questioned whether much of the government could operate for the last months of the fiscal year." That's like a win-win, right, Republicans?

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