Mutiny in the House GOP

After negotiating an historic compromise on the creation of a Rainy Day Fund and reform of the corporate minimum tax, House Republicans are now backpedaling away from that compromise - and away from their leadership.

From the Statesman-Journal:

A bipartisan deal announced with great fanfare last week to create a rainy-day fund and change corporate and estate taxes stalled in the House on Wednesday and might be in trouble.

After business leaders complained about corporate tax increases in the package, some House Republicans balked at approving the deal negotiated by their leaders.

House Republican Leader Wayne Scott, R-Canby, said "several of our members pulled off the bill."

Over at the NW Republican blog, Ted Piccolo passes on this scuttlebutt:

Secondly word is that Rep. Wayne Scott is in reeling (sp?) from this. First is that folks in his own caucus were already ticked off at him BEFORE this whole charade and now there are even more that are frustrated with his leadership. Then there is the fact that the Democrats cannot be sure they can even negotiate with him. There is now this lingering question as to whether or not he even speaks for his own caucus now.

Even their allies are upset about the package. The SSJ takes note of the FreedomWorks attack ads:

The attacks became embarrassing when House GOP leaders announced that they would agree to suspend most of the 2007 corporate kickers, as well as support a higher corporate tax. "We felt betrayed," said Walker, who also is vice chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. "We had assurances that they weren't going to do that, that they were going to hold the line."

Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders are working to save the compromise. Again, the SSJ:

House leaders yanked the package from the House floor, and members spent the rest of the day and early evening huddled in back-room meetings. House Speaker Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, emerged at 7:15 p.m. and announced that Democrats made some concessions to get the deal revived.

"We're working very hard to keep the wheels on the vehicle," Merkley said.

Stay tuned.


  • (Show?)

    Concessions? WTF? The Democrats already MADE concessions, in order to get the deal that Republicans are now welching on. Why the fuck should Merkley bend any further on this? Hello? You have all the power, dude! You can't lose on this debate. Either it passes in the Leg and you win for getting it done, or it fails, the referral bill kicks in, it passes overwhelmingly, and the GOP looks (correctly) obstructionist, giving you something to tag them with in '08.

    Screw 'em, Jeff. Take the vote, let the chips fall, and then use the Plan B that you've smartly kept in your pocket. Sheesh.

  • Harry (unverified)


    All excellent analysis and advice. Except for one minor assumption:

    "...the referral bill kicks in, it passes overwhelmingly"

    I suspect that he is not as sure as you are that it will pass overwhelmingly. The Business support that this Biz Kicker => Rainy Day Fund was mainly a few Big Businesses and their associations, not the vast numbers of small business owners.

    So maybe there isn't the votes at the ballot box, and Merkley thinks its safer to get 'er done via concessions in Salem than across the sate at the ballot box.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Nice to see the Republicans lying to each other instead of the citizens of Oregon (for a change).

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the response, Harry. I will say that my sources on the House side in Salem have privately been very confident that a referral is their ace in the hole, precisely because they believe it will pass easily.

    I think what Merkley is primarily worried about is the sense that the public will fault the legislature--and thus the Democrats in charge--for not getting it done and leaving it up to referral. That's valid, but easily counterable. It should be quite easy to portray the Republican side as deliberately obstructive and negotiating in bad faith.

  • (Show?)

    I suspect that he is not as sure as you are that it will pass overwhelmingly. The Business support that this Biz Kicker => Rainy Day Fund was mainly a few Big Businesses and their associations, not the vast numbers of small business owners.

    This bill was a very good deal for small business owners.

    How many small busines owners do you know who oppose raising the threshhold for the inheritance tax by $1 million?

    Besides, the small business owners I spoke with in 2006 overwhelmingly supported a repeal of the corporate kicker.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Hmm, I don't see a link to Reinhard's column on how united the House GOP caucus is. They must have lost it - or maybe Wayne Scott bought all rights.

  • (Show?)

    Poor big companies are finally going to have to pay more than $10 in taxes. I'm sure the average Oregonian is going to feel bad for a company making millions and paying $10 in income tax when they've just paid out hundreds, or thousands, on their small paycheck.

    From what I hear, this proposal the Dems are trying to get through would pass at the ballot box easily. I think that TJ may have it correct in the worry that the voters may try to blame it on the Ds, not understanding it takes more than a simple majority to vote in something like this.

    Of course the Rs could be trying to stall so that the Ds can get it on the ballot in time for May and would have to do a special election instead.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    The interesting thing is that the provision Business lobbyists don't like, raising the corporate minimum, is a provision the Republicans added to the compromise bill. So it appears the House Rep's are rebelling, urged on by the business lobbyists I suspect, because of something their leaders insisted on including in the bill.

    I think there is a potential problem with a ballot referral if opponents makes it out to be a tax on us based on the argument that... "businesses don't pay taxes, they pass it on to the consumer". Well, then lets return the corporate kicker to the person who paid them, Oregon consumers.

    Consider if the referral proposed that the first dollars of the corporate kicker went to the rainy day fund, until it reached 10% of the budget, then when the rainy day fund was fully funded, any extra or subsequent corporate kickers were "kicked" to the personal kicker pot and added to our personal kicker.

    I think a lot of Oregon voters may like that. Sort of a rebate from the Businesses that collected too much tax from us over the prior two years.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    I'm sure there are many legislative districts where the major employers are businesses that support repeal of the corporate kicker to create the rainy day fund. I'll bet quite a few of these districts currently are held by Republicans.

    So why aren't constituents in these districts receiving postcards pointing out that their representative opposes the rainy day fund supported by the businesses in their district? Why isn't the Democratic party taking out ads to point out this lunacy and threaten these legislators' careers?

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Grover Norquist put pods under their desks.

    We're going to be voting on an ballot referral. Seems pretty clear by now.

  • (Show?)

    Why isn't the Democratic party taking out ads to point out this lunacy and threaten these legislators' careers?

    Gil, America is run by the people who show up. You just did. I suggest that you raise a few thousand bucks, and deliver them to the DPO with the proviso that it be spent on mailers to vulnerable Republicans doing things their constituents wouldn't like.

    Or heck, don't bother with the party. Do it yourself. It's free to file a political committee.

    There's way too much "why doesn't somebody else do something about it?" going on around here (not just to pick on you, Gil) - - be the change you seek.

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