Bill Thomas

October 26, 2010

In 2004, Fabian Núñez, then the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, received an odd phone call. It was the assembly’s sergeant at arms, reporting that Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, was sitting at the speaker’s dais in an otherwise empty chamber. “Kevin McCarthy looks like he’s presiding, but there’s nobody in there,” the sergeant at arms told Núñez. Despite their political differences, Núñez and McCarthy were friends; both had been elected to the assembly in 2002 and had swiftly risen to the top posts in their respective conferences.

Republican Keynesianism
June 18, 2010

Matthew Yglesias takes a trip down memory lane to 2001, when Republicans were fierce Keynesians: Once upon a time an asset bubble burst, but there was little leverage involved and the ensuing downturn was relatively mild. The federal reserve had room to run in terms of cutting interest rates, and the previous ten years’ worth of fiscal policy had seen a series of measures, some bipartisan (1990 & 1997) and some partisan (1993) to improve the country’s budget situation.

Meet Bob Rubin's PR Guy
April 09, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] The Times' Sewell Chan and Eric Dash have a great little piece about Bill Thomas, the volatile former Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, now vice chairman the the congressionally-chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). In a nutshell, Thomas is--how to put it?--a preening, self-righteous bully* who seems more interested in scoring rhetorical points than figuring out what caused the crisis.

Paper Tiger
February 07, 2005

If George W. Bush's Social Security reform fails, people may look back at January 18 as the day the wheels really started to come off. That was the afternoon House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas pronounced Bush's plan a "dead horse" that Congress would not pass. Thomas also suggested that any changes to Social Security would involve elaborate tax reform of the sort that can take more than a year, far longer than the few weeks the White House is hoping to devote to Social Security.

Learning from Newt
January 24, 2005

Early last year, a Democratic representative named Chris Bell decided it was time someone really went after Tom DeLay. Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Bell had come to believe that DeLay, a fellow Texan, was not just a tyrannical House majority leader, but that his pursuit of power had led him to trample House ethics rules.

Drug Use
July 08, 2002

The prescription-drug debate has returned to Capitol Hill, and, depressingly, things have picked up pretty much where they left off before the last election. Last week, after House Republicans advanced an unrealistically thin $350 billion plan to subsidize drug costs for the elderly, Democrats pounced. House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt doubted that "anyone can take Republican claims seriously" and flayed the GOP's "sham bill." In the party's weekly radio address, Michigan Democrat John Dingell mocked the Republicans' "phantom benefit" and compared GOP leaders to shady car dealers.