Must be nice to have a job that doesn’t actually require any work, except to refuse to work at all:
House Republicans are just wasting their time debating Speaker John Boehner’s debt reduction bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today.
“Boehner’s bill dies tonight,” Reid communications director Adam Jentleson wrote on Twitter. “Forever.” …
“As soon as the House completes its vote, the Senate will move to take up that bill,” Reid said, “and it will be defeated tonight.”
“No Democrat will vote for a short-term Band-Aid that would put our economy at risk and put the nation back in this untenable situation a few short months from now,” he said.
To which the answer should be: “Where’s the Senate plan?” The Politico article has Harry Reid standing in front of a display that reads, “In the battle of budget scores, Senate plan is a clear winner over Boehner plan.” That was certainly true of the Boehner 1.0 plan, but it’s less clear that it’s true about Boehner 1.1. Either way, Reid’s bill only reduced actual spending by $750 billion rather than Boehner 1.0’s $710 billion over a ten-year period, so neither was exceptionally robust in scoring. It’s a bit like bragging about winning a football game when the only score comes off of a safety.
But that argument assumes the Senate will actually produce a plan. So far, even though Reid controls the majority and the floor, we haven’t even seen a hint of a vote. In fact, we haven’t seen the Senate originate any budget bill in over 800 days. Since Reid’s plan doesn’t include new taxes — or at least that’s his claim — it doesn’t have to originate in the House.
The proper legislative process should be for both chambers to work on their own versions of legislation and form a conference committee to produce a bill for up-or-down votes in each chamber. Reid could have done that with the CCB bill, had he chosen to do so, although there would have been very few commonalities between a Senate response and the CCB around which to compromise. That’s not true of the Boehner 1.1 bill; as National Journal noted yesterday, they have quite a bit in common, including the level of cuts. All that needs to happen is to get the Senate to pass its bill and let the conference committee hammer it out. That can even take place after a vote to kill Boehner 1.1.
If all Reid does is vote to kill the Boehner plan, however, then nothing can happen. Reid wants to bully the House into doing his work. The House should tell Reid to do his job rather than worry about doing theirs. If Democrats never plan to make a proposal, then they should just pass Boehner 1.1, and Republicans should call a halt to any further efforts until Democrats start taking their responsibilities seriously.
Update II: Lachlan actually went to Heritage a few weeks ago.