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Heavy Lifting

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Tomorrow (Tuesday) the House will debate SCR 20, the vehicle for lifting the spending cap. At one point this seemed to be the make-or-break issue of the session, but now I think it will pass comfortably, with around 85 votes. The Democratic caucus leadership has made an all-out push to make this a litmus-test vote, but Craddick will lose only a handful of the extreme fiscal conservatives (Talton, for instance), and there will be enough support from Craddick Ds to provide a safe margin.

This is another one of those issues when I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Dunnam and his lieutenants are saying that the Ds need to vote as a bloc against lifting the cap so that Craddick will have to negotiate with them about their budget priorities. Hello? Haven’t they noticed in the past four years that Craddick won’t negotiate with them under any circumstances? He’d start cutting the budget first. The Ds have no leverage. If they defeat the resolution, the budget gets cut. Is that what they want? Most of the spending benefits Democratic causes–education and health care. If the Ds were to muster enough votes to prevent the Rs from lifting the cap, they would lose funding for their programs.

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