The GOP line on state aid

THE GOP LINE ON STATE AID…. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that the House will return from its August recess next week, voting in emergency session on a state aid package. It’s a great move — the funding, which will formally pass the Senate today, includes $10 billion to save school teachers’ jobs, and $16.1 billion in state Medicaid funding. It can’t wait another five weeks.

It’s safe to assume that the vast majority of House Republican, if not literally every member, will grudgingly work their way back to D.C., only to register their opposition to the measure. But what will be the rationale? House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) argued yesterday:

“The American people don’t want more Washington ‘stimulus’ spending — especially in the form of a pay-off to union bosses and liberal special interests. This stunning display of tone-deafness comes at the expense of American workers, who will be hit by another job-killing tax hike because Washington Democrats can’t kick their addiction to more government ‘stimulus’ spending.”

Hmm. Aid to struggling states will help prevent the layoffs of school teachers, firefighters, and police officers. For the House Republican leader, these folks are “special interests.” But when he works with Wall Street executives to kill new financial industry safeguards, or meets with insurance companies to kill health care reform, or meets with polluters to kill energy/climate legislation, these aren’t “special interests.”

In this sense, the “special interests” label is a bit like the “judicial activism” line — court rulings the GOP finds offensive constitute “activism,” and public employees the GOP doesn’t care about are “special interests.”

For that matter, the bill is fully paid for through spending cuts and cutting a corporate tax loophole that helps make it easier to send jobs overseas. Boehner is supposed to like the former, and his defense of the latter is bizarre.

The floor debate next week will no doubt be endlessly entertaining.