According to Senate Republicans, Americans don’t need to improve the safety of our food supply by increasing the number of food inspections, despite recent outbreaks of food borne diseases and warnings by the USDA about food safety? What’s surprising about this particular action by Senate Republicans is that it is occurring now after the same food safety bill was previously approved by the House and Senate earlier this month but failed the Constitutional requirement that bills that raise revenue originate in the House of Representatives.

The bill, designed to increase government inspections of the food supply in the wake of recent deadly food borne disease outbreaks, originally passed with wide support in the both chambers. However, it needs approval again because it violated a Constitutional requirement that bills that raise revenue initiate in the House.

The House approved a new bill identical to same bill the Senate approved and sent it back to the Senate for a re-vote. So what changed between the time this food safety bill, which had huge bi-partisan support when was originally passed by the Senate on December 1st of this year (by a 73-25 vote) and today? Why was a bill approved by almost three fourths of the Senate (including many Republicans) suddenly become a bad bill in the minds of all Senate Republicans? Very good question.

Then again, why did the Republicans vote to deny health care and other benefits to the 9/11 Responders? Why are they (including Mr. Maverick himself, John McCain) threatening a government shutdown by refusing to pass an omnibus spending bill that would continue the operation of the Federal Government bills the week before Christmas?

We know they claim its all about saving money, but if that was the case why didn’t they shut down the government during the Bush years when the government was literally losing money to massive waste and fraud by defense contractors in Iraq and elsewhere? We kniow they claim to be are upset about $8 Billion Dollars in earmarks in the current 1.1. Trillion spending bill, but if that is the case, why did they vote for all those billions of dollars of earmarks during the Bush Presidency?

In short, why are the Republicans playing games over federal spending now when the very same issues over earmarks (which were much more massive back in the Bush years) did not concern them back when they controlled Congress?

In 2006, Congress allocated a record $71.77 billion “to 15,832 special projects, more than double the $29.11 billion spent on 4,155 pork-barrel projects in 1994.” In 2005, Congress inserted 15,877 pork projects into spending bills.

Well, I think you know the answer to those questions.

A confluence of facts and events helped McConnell convince senior appropriators in his own party — people who, like he, don’t fundamentally oppose the earmarking process — to back off the omnibus, according to a Republican leadership aide. Part of it was that, though bipartisan, the bill itself included funding for key Democratic priorities that in the current political environment no Republican supports, or wants to be accused of supporting. The omnibus included $1 billion in spending to implement the health care law — a provision no Republican wanted to de facto support.

Tax cuts for a few thousand Billionaires and Multi-Millionaires that will increase the deficit by 80 Billion dollars in 2011 alone? “Yes, or else,” say the Republicans. Spending a comparatively measly $1 Billion health care reform that will help millions of non-miilionaires, people desperately in need of better health benefits? Absolutely not! say the Republicans.

And helping 9/11 responders who risked their lives and suffered the consequences, and improving food safety for all Americans? “Too costly,” say the Republicans

Tell me again, who exactly is waging class warfare here?

And Mr. Broder, how exactly to you imagine your cloud-cuckoo land vision of centrist bipartisanship can ever come to pass when the current crop of extremist Republicans are acting to sabotage even bills that no one in their right mind should oppose?

Hey, inquiring minds want to know.

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