Thursday, May 19, 2016

Uh-Oh? House Reaches Bipartisan Puerto Rico Debt Crisis Deal

by JASmius

Well, it's bipartisan, which means most likely that the GOP didn't give up the big things - in this case, formally bailing out Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt and not confiscating their metaphorical credit cards - but probably did cough up a whole bunch of little things that aren't critical but will still win them howls from Tea Party ranks that they "sold out" yet again.

Let's take a look:

A revised bill introduced late Wednesday would create a control board to help manage the U.S. territory's financial obligations and oversee some debt restructuring. The legislation came after weeks of negotiations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, House [Minority] Leader Nancy Pelosi and Treasury [Commissar] Jacob Lew all expressed support for the legislation Thursday, with Lew calling the bill "a fair, but tough bipartisan compromise."

Ryan, R-WI1, said in a statement Thursday that the legislation would avoid an eventual taxpayer bailout.

The plan is "the most responsible solution to the crisis because it gives Puerto Rico a path to real reform while protecting taxpayers," he said.

That certainly sounds like Ryan & Co. didn't give up anything major.

But the devil, as they say, is always in the details.  What do those say?:

[House Natural Resources Committee Chaiman Rob] Bishop originally introduced a bill last month but canceled a scheduled committee vote after objections from both parties. Since then, he has worked closely with Ryan to win over conservatives, who worry it might set a precedent for financially ailing States, and Democrats, who say they are concerned the control board will be too powerful and favorable to creditors.

You know, the ones who are actually out the $72 billion.  Yeah, why should THEY get any consideration?  Who cares if it's their money.

As to setting a State precedent, I think that ship sailed a long time ago.  And even if it hadn't, it doesn't matter if there's no formal bailout in this bill, because all the Left needs is one cuticle inside the metaphorical tent, and the whole camel will get shoved into it forthwith.

Judging by this 'graph....

After opposing previous versions of the legislation, House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi of California-12 said the new bill "achieved a restructuring process that can work."

....I'm not encouraged.

It takes a while to get down to the money passage, but here 'tis:

Disagreements over how the board would be appointed held up negotiations over the past week. Under the bill, Barack Obama would select all but one of the board members from lists provided by congressional leaders. If Obama does not pick from those lists, the members must be confirmed by the Senate. [emphasis added]

Well, THAT clarifies things.  "Congressional leaders" means Democrats probably get to put close to half the names on the list, and Republicans contribute the rest.  Guess whose names O will choose?  And since he gets to pick all but one member of that control board, guess in which policy direction the board will lopsidedly tilt?  If your guess was "in Governor Padilla's direction and against America taxpayers," congratulations, you do not have cataracts.

So no, this isn't a bailout of the Puerto Rican government.  But the control board will ensure that the island commonwealth doesn't have to put its fiscal house in order, and will get to keep lobbying and agitating for a future bailout.  Which is why Commissar Lew and Crazy Nancy were satisfied with the "deal".

The other two compromises were more or less a wash:

The final bill also removes a provision that would have transferred federal land on the nearby island of Vieques to the government of Puerto Rico. That was a major concession to Democrats, whose votes may be needed when the bill comes to the full House.

The new version does retain a provision to allow the Puerto Rican government to temporarily lower federal minimum wage requirements for some workers, to which Democrats have objected.

Eh.  Whatever.

So in the final analysis what does this "deal" amount to?  Kicking the can down the road to the next Puerto Rican debt crisis, in which Republicans, assuming they're still in the majority, will be in a significantly weaker position to resist an actual bailout.  And, of course, if they're not in the majority, as is most likely, than the sky's the limit, isn't it?

Could Paul Ryan have done better?  Maybe.  But I'm not convinced of that.

Any conservative Republican trying to even hold the line against the relentless, vicious advance of the Left is like Daffy Duck.... do all that you can, but it's still ultimately a losing battle.

But the House good guys did pull one victory out a single vote:

Democrats shouted "shame," but dozens of House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights.

The vote on Thursday was 213-212.

Barack Obama has issued an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors.

A New York Democrat, Sean Patrick Maloney, offered an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited using taxpayer dollars to violate the order.

The measure was headed toward passage, when suddenly dozens of Republicans reversed course to ensure its defeat.

And that led Democrat Steve Israel to say: "This reveals them for who they are. They are bigots. They are haters."

No, Steve, it actually reveals that the House GOP leadership wasn't completely asleep at the switch and caught your "gotcha" poison pill in the nick of time, and that they really don't take your bile seriously enough to lose sight of your corrupt and vile anti-constitutionalism.

And yes, your anti-Christian bigotry and hatred as well.  Which is always in fullest display on the rare occasions when your side loses one of these bouts.  You really need to work on your verbal self-discipline.  What do you want to sound like?  Donald Trump?

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