Dueling talking points

The Washington Post continues its descent into partisan rag status with this front-page headline: “Bipartisan Deal Eases Way For Stimulus Bill in Senate.” The story that follows concedes that the Democrats are “counting on just three GOP votes for the plan as of last night.”

Is a deal “bipartisan” when only three members of one party support it? Not under the previously existing understanding of bipartisanship. For example, I don’t recall the Post reporting that Samuel Alito had bipartisan support as a Supreme Court nominee even though four Democratic Senators voted to confirm him. Nor was Joe Lieberman’s support of significant aspects of Bush administration foreign policy considered sufficient to make that policy “bipartisan.”

The Post article portrays the “bipartisan deal” (authors Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery repeat this characterization from the headline) as a significant “scaling back,” by about $100 billion, of the House version of the bill. But Senate Republicans deny that this is the case:

According to our numbers, the deal is at least $827 billion, $7 billion MORE than the House passed bill. With debt, that comes to $1.175 trillion total cost for the new deal.

Only in Washington can an increase over the original bill cost be sold as a cut.

This figure includes:

$780 B (for base deal)
$46.5 B (for amendments added during debate)
$348 B (for debt service)

Total equals $1.175 Trillion

To put that in perspective, the total cost of House bill is $1.168 trillion ($820 billion for bill and $348 billion for debt service)

At this point, I can’t adjudicate between the Republican claims and those of the Democrats, as duly presented by the Washington Post. All I can say with confidence is that both are partisan talking points.

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