Mitch Perry Report for 12.12.14 – House Dems side with Warren over Obama in budget vote

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On Wednesday, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted the $1.1 trillion spending package in the House put together by Republicans and Democrats that would keep most government agencies operating through next summer. Warren’s ire was with two parts of the bill that were added on to it in the past week: provisions that would sharply increase the influence of wealthy campaign donors, and another would ease restrictions on risky trades by big banks.

Most Democrats — including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Tampa’s Kathy Castor — followed her lead, and voted against the appropriations bill that narrowly passed the House last night on a 219-206 vote.  In total, only 57 Democrats voted for the bill, and 139 voted against it.

That came despite a furious pitch by officials with the Obama White House yesterday to congressional Democrats to support the legislation, as odious as they may have felt about those provisions.

But the majority of House Dems essentially blew the president off.

“I’m enormously disappointed that the White House feels that the only way they can get a bill is to go along with this,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “That would be the only reason I think they would say they would sign such a bill.”

“A vote for this bill is a vote for future taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street,” Warren said yesterday. “When the next bailout comes, a lot of people will look back to this vote to see who was responsible.”

In her comments, Castor also alluded to the Wall Street provision as being a bridge too far for her to cross.

“The provision would repeal an important section of the Wall Street Reform law entitled, ‘PROHIBITION AGAINST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS OF SWAPS ENTITIES,'” Castor said. “This special interest power grab at the end of the dysfunctional 113th Congress does not meet the smell test and puts America squarely in the same spot that led to the meltdown of America’s economy.  Instead, I sided with American middle-class families, small businesses and all those who do not want to put America’s economy and its recovery at risk.”

 The bill now goes to the Senate, and the question is : Will Warren try to lead a filibuster? Now, that would be ballsy. It certainly marks the biggest moment in her two-year career in the Senate, and could be the moment that truly ignites progressives to push her to run for the Democratic nomination for president.

In other news…

In a meeting devoid of drama, the Hillsborough County Democratic Party has a new chair — it’s Elizabeth Belcher.

Tampa GOP state Rep. Dana Young is cautiously optimistic that next year will be the one where her legislation calling for the repeal of the ban on 64-ounce growlers in Florida gets passed.

The Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation held its annual meeting before the public yesterday. Among those local officials with urgent needs included educators MaryEllen Elia and Judy Genshaft.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.