A Patriot Act compromise and hundreds of spending amendments.

A Patriot Act compromise and hundreds of spending amendments.

A Patriot Act compromise and hundreds of spending amendments.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Feb. 17 2011 5:41 PM

The Don't-Tread-on-Meter

Republicans cut spending, albeit very, very slowly.

Don't-Tread-on-Meter: Feb. 17, 2011:41

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post. 

These have been weeks when Republicans learned the power and the pain of having a raucous majority and an open Congress. First, the party tried to win a supermajority vote on extending the Patriot Act. Had they won, extension would have moved ahead with no amendments. But they fell short by seven votes, with a coalition of eight new GOP freshmen (some with Tea Party ties), some old libertarian bulls (like Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas), and a majority of Democrats voting against them.

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They got the votes for the Patriot Act on Monday, and they passed it. That led right into their next struggle—trimming spending with a series of more than 400 amendments. Because the new Republican leadership committed to an open rule, they had to let all of these amendments —most of them doomed efforts to save spending, proposed by Democrats—come to the floor for votes.

None of this is really setting back the GOP's agenda. (Patriot Act reform wasn't even on the minds of most Tea Party freshmen, most of whom backed extension.) The House is on track to cut from $77 billion to $100 billion compared to the White House's original requests. For that reason, the Meter rises to 41.

What Is the Don't-Tread-on-Meter?
It will track the progress (or lack thereof) of the Republican House of Representatives, and the Republican conference in the Senate, in fulfilling the promises they made to Tea Party activists. The meter will hit 100 if and when the GOP does absolutely everything it promised.

You can now add the Don't-Tread-on-Meter to your blog or site. Just click the button in the lower right of the widget to get the code.

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