The Senate had to break a filibuster to pass an omnibus spending bill over the weekend that funded the Justice and State departments and other agencies but combined many other items to yield a 10 percent increase in spending over last year. Now the House will prepare take up the Pentagon spending bill, a measure Republicans usually support unanimously — but not this year. With the proposal to raise the debt ceiling by nearly an additional $1 trillion likely to be attached, as well as a $70 billion jobs package and other parts of the kitchen sink, the GOP is considering opposing en masse. Some conservative Democrats
are likely to follow their lead — they want a commission to address debt reduction and pay-as-you-go budgeting. Last week 19 Democrats voted with Republicans on a measure to spend leftover funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) on deficit reduction, which subsequently failed to pass.

Christina Romer, chairwoman for the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press" that it would be "suicidal" for the government to focus too much on deficit reduction when unemployment remains the priority issue. But the spending debate has united Republicans, divided the Democrats and kept healthcare reform hanging in the balance.

Can the Democrats spend their way back to solid political ground? Can they create jobs? I want to hear from you.


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