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Mitch Perry Report for 12.17.15 – As Congress votes on spending bill, will far right turn on Paul Ryan now?

I’m going to guess that conservatives in Congress aren’t going to turn on new House Speaker Paul D. Ryan so soon, since he’s still undergoing a honeymoon less than two months after replacing the very unpopular John Boehner.

But there’s definitely unease among the far right part of the party on this omnibus spending bill that his House of Representatives will vote on tomorrow. Today comes a vote on a tax package, which apparently is only going to be supported by Republicans, before voting on the spending bill on Friday, where it will need a majority of Democrats to pass.

That spending bill — 2,009 pages long — has been portrayed in much of the mainstream press as a successful trade between the two parties. However, conservatives think it’s really a winner for the Dems, and a loser for the GOP. Sure there’s the lifting of a 40-year ban on exports of domestic crude oil which the Republicans like, but there’s a lot for the Dems, such as winning multiyear extensions of critical tax credits for solar and wind energy production. As Slate reports, “They successfully nixed a rider that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “waters of the United States” rule that would expand its jurisdiction against polluters under the Clean Water Act. Riders blocking proposed regulations of power plants were cut out. The U.S. government’s contributions to the international Green Climate Fund will continue, a crucial component of the Paris climate agreement.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus in the House say they won’t support the bill.

“The end product here is just cleaning the barn; it’s a disaster,” North Carolina Representative Dave Brat. “We’re breaking our pledge on the budget caps to the American people, we’ve lost fiscal discipline, and we’re throwing it all on the next generation.”

The bill also does not prohibit the administration from resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. And it does not include a ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is what so many Republicans had said this year had been a major goal for them.

So, you can bet that this bill will only fuel the anger among some conservatives that have fueled Donald Trump (and Ted Cruz‘s) rise in the GOP presidential race.

In other news …

Based on what some (many?) say were racially insensitive remarks during oral arguments about an affirmative action last week, Alan Grayson wants Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to be removed from that case.

After some citizens filed ethics complaints against Hillsborough County Commissioners Sandy Murman and Ken Hagan claiming that they violated Sunshine Laws, the county has hired two attorneys to represent the two at a rate of $300 per hour.

Despite an organized effort by the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Hillsborough County Commission voted 6-1 to approve a deal that will see the county spend $29 million on stadium improvements for Raymond James Stadium. 

The conservative-leaning James Madison Institute says that the Floridians for Solar Choice amendment would cost ratepayers over a billion dollars in shifted costs.

“Hogwash.” (or something like that), claims Conservatives for Energy Freedom’s Debbie Dooley, an organizer with the solar choice amendment.

David Jolly has a slight lead over Ron DeSantis in a new St. Pete Polls survey of the GOP Senate race, but over 40 percent say they haven’t decided.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was 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 and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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