Durbin: Bounties over budgets?

posted at 9:50 am on March 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, John Boehner complained about the irresponsibility of the Democratic majority in the Senate, which has gone three years without fulfilling their constitutional duty to produce a budget.  As the House Budget Committee worked on a markup, Boehner told the press that Senate Democrats had done “nothing” on one of their primary jobs since 2009:

“We’re over here in the House actually working on a budget; going through the real work that it takes to come to grips with our fiscal problems,” Boehner said at his weekly press briefing at the Capitol.

“The Senate’s done nothing. There have been no markups over in the Senate. There ain’t even been any effort in the Senate – 3 years, 3 years and they’ve failed to move a budget.”

Well, to be fair, Senate Democrats have been buried in important work.  In fact, the Senate majority’s #2 leader Dick Durbin announced yesterday that the Senate would begin hearings on an emergency problem in the US:

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing on the bounty system allegedly used by several National Football League teams – one day after top coaches from the New Orleans Saints were suspended as punishment for a program that awarded players with cash if they injured their opponents.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who will chair the hearing, said Thursday the committee will also investigate whether federal sports bribery laws need to be changed to include sports bounty programs. The date for the hearing has yet to be announced, but Durbin said it will occur after the Easter recess.

“We will have a hearing and put on the record what sports leagues and teams at the professional and collegiate levels are doing to make sure that there’s no place in athletics for these pay-to-[maim] bounties,” Durbin said on the Senate floor Thursday. “I want to hear the policies and practices in each of the major sports and collegiate sports that are being put in place.”

Yes, because the business of budgeting is so much less central to the mission of the Senate than, er, how college and professional football coaches incentivize their players.  But give Durbin credit — he’s stretching the federal government’s jurisdiction out more than a Devin Hester kickoff runback in order to stick his nose into the NFL’s business:

But moving forward, the NFL and other leagues must “come up with standards to make sure this isn’t going to happen again,” he said. Otherwise, lawmakers will need to “at least explore whether it is necessary to have federal legislation in this area.”

One possibility, Durbin explained, would be to extend federal sports bribery laws to cover bounties, so that “if someone offers in a team sports situation some sort of value, money or otherwise, to intentionally hurt another player, that, in fact, would be a crime.”

Federal bribery laws?  You mean the one that a state lawmaker from Durbin’s Illinois got charged with breaking, a politician that Durbin’s party endorsed on Monday before the election, and then tossed under the bus afterward? Those bribery statutes?  Um, okay.  Since when did NFL players become public officials?

Senate Democrats are fundamentally unserious, from leadership down.  That’s nothing new, but it would be nice if the media noticed it and pointed it out once in a while.


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WHERE’S the COVER-UP MEDIA on this?

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 9:53 AM

First…and Im not sure exactly what he’s expecting from this administration, or the derpocrat controlled Senate. It’s like he expects them to uphold the Constitution, or something…

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 9:54 AM

AAAAARGh…Kool…dammnit, lol.

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Bonehead being forcefull?

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

What’s the senate doing to ensure gender equality in pro football?

Akzed on March 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

John Boehner complained

The problem is that’s all Boehner does is complain. If only we had bolder, stronger leaders.

dmn1972 on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

But it’ basketball season.

docflash on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Are all football players able to access free bith control?

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

unserious

thesaurus.com:

No results found for unserious:
Did you mean onerous?

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Priorities.

changer1701 on March 23, 2012 at 9:58 AM

OT: It turns out Trayvon Martin’s shooter was Latino. So, does this mean that MSNBC’s Sharpton is starting a War on Latinos?

faraway on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

The problem is that’s all Boehner does is complain. If only we had bolder, stronger leaders.

dmn1972 on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

This

Sorry to say, but its past the point where I and a growing majority view Boehner as an ineffective tool, unwilling to play hardball, when those who voted him in need him to. Perhaps some of you saw my last post on Boehner, where I delicately told him exactly what I thought of his “hiding under skirts” approach to leading.

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Dick Durbin…he’s got a perfect first name.

St Gaudens on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Durbin can simply paraphrase himself and then take an early lunch:

Today, Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, quoted a report of NFL “atrocities” at various fields and then added:

“If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an NFL investigator describing what defensive linemen had done to quarterbacks in the line of scrimmage, you would most certainly believe this had been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings.”

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Yet another flagrant example of why term limits are necessary. These people were sent to Washington to do a job, not sit around like a bunch of feckless rumps and coast their way to a cushy retirement. It’s infuriating, not to mention embarrassing, that a country like American is operating on the fly without a budget for 3 years. These senators are making us a laughing stock.

scalleywag on March 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Seriously?

Definition: Unserious

Adjective 1. Being flippant.

Date “Unserious” was first used in popular English literature: sometime before 1834.

Fallon on March 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Isn’t it already a crime to pay someone to hurt someone else?

rbj on March 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Are all football players able to access free bith control?

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

…I think when the hearings are done…the player’s will be wearing condoms, under their cups!
New regulation!

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

There’s no need to have a hearing over the bounties… jeez, the NFL is taking care of it themselves.

ninjapirate on March 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

The Republican Congress needs to get out in front of issues instead of just reacting to them. They need to reveal what the Senate is doing, or not doing. But, they won’t because they are too scared of being demonized.

lea on March 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Sorry to say, but its past the point where I and a growing majority view Boehner as an ineffective tool, unwilling to play hardball, when those who voted him in need him to. Perhaps some of you saw my last post on Boehner, where I delicately told him exactly what I thought of his “hiding under skirts” approach to leading.

MooCowBang on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

McConnell is just as bad. At a certain point you have to wonder whether these guys are just feigning their incompetence and in fact like Obama’s policies.

Doomberg on March 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Wow, two days in a row Boehner speaks out. New trend?

On the other side, old trend, that lyin’ sack of Durbin and his lazy slacker Senate Dembeciles need to stay outta pro sports unless it’s absolutely necessary and we’ll tell them when it is–it’s the one place we can reasonably go without having to deal with their politricks.

stukinIL4now on March 23, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Dick “dirtbag” Durbin is the ultimate nanny-stater, loving to poke his nose into everything. He’s never seen a regulation he didn’t like. Remember this from the world of sports just last year?

Fallon on March 23, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Anything to extend the reach of federal government authority and power. Constitutionally required tasks and Constitutionally limited authority? That is so passe’. After all, if one were putting a Constitution together today, one wouldn’t look to the US Constitution as a model, one would look to one like the South African Constitution where welfare is a guaranteed right.

At least that’s what my betters in the government and the Supreme Court tell me.

/Wow, how do libs think this way? Even typing with heavy sarcasm, that thought process made my head hurt in addition to violating every ounce of common sense.

AZfederalist on March 23, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Man, Dick likes calling people Pol Pot don’t he?

Sen. Dick Durbin went to the Senate floor late Tuesday to offer his apologies to anyone who may have been offended by his comparison of treatment of detainees at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Nazis, Soviet gulags and Cambodia’s Pol Pot.

Is he going to apologize to the NFL?

Akzed on March 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Like the Hitler losing it video, that Durbin quote has sooo many applications in democratical debate strategy. They show that hysteria for every issue they pursue. Throw in a dollop of “for the children” and they can mail in every quote for a camera. Good job sir.

DanMan on March 23, 2012 at 10:16 AM

This should drive every American citizen up a wall. It needs better exposure. What would Breitbart do?

Cindy Munford on March 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Here’s what Boehner should have said:

While I appreciate that democrats are concerned about how the 1% play their games, there are more important matters to attend to. Ones that affect the other 99%.

lorien1973 on March 23, 2012 at 10:18 AM

How bout some fines for each Senator for each day they are delinquent in producing a budget? Effective immediately. Retroactive if possible. How about holding their pay til they produce a budget? How about holding their staffers’ pay?
How about not letting them hold any hearings on non-governmental matters-like birth control or sports until they pass a budget?

talkingpoints on March 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Nothing to see here
-lsm

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Rome is burning and the senate frets over jockstraps? DOOM is upon us.

FineasFinn on March 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

I can’t believe boehner hasn’t sent a steongly worded letter to the senate. Guess hes saving that tactic for closer to the election.

ldbgcoleman on March 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Fallon on March 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Unseriously. :)

I think it was the thesaurus database that crapped out, not the dictionary. But the irony in the result made me warm inside, so I ditched my comment and pasted it instead. The “Did you mean onerous?” line was part of the quote, if that wasn’t obvious. And staying true to your method:

Definition: Onerous

Adjective 1. Not easily borne; wearing
Adjective 2. Burdensome; oppressive
Adjective 3. Being burdensome, cumbersome, oppressive or cumbrous

Date “Onerous” was first used in popular English literature: sometime before 1615.

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

My boss bribes me every two weeks. Always on Fridays, unless it’s a holiday.

Does anyone have Mr. Durbin’s number. This needs to stop!

oconp88 on March 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Durbin’s just following the Roman model. Bread and circuses.

Confutus on March 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

The unserious Democratic Senate Majority: This is what gave birth to Obama. A lazy President, from the lazy Democratic Senate: No wonder nothing is getting done. And these idiots think they are transforming America, rather than letting it wilt on the vine.

EMD on March 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Durbin’s just following the Roman model. Bread and circuses.

Confutus on March 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

If he also lets me keep what I loot as salary, he can have me back. :) I’m not fighting Hannibal though. Dude’s crazy.

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

The only way any organization could operate four years without a budget is if they take the attitude that costs and expenses don’t matter because we can always print more money.

tommyboy on March 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Mind-boggling. The economy is in the tank, gas is $4.28/gal here in Indiana, the so-called “strategy” in Afghanistan is failing miserably, the Senate hasn’t produced the required annual budget for more than three years, and these tools are investigating pro football.

Does anyone doubt we would be vastly better served by people chosen at random from the phone book?

Hell, I will make the argument that we would be better served by monkeys chosen at random from zoos. The self-abuse and poo-flinging would be familiar, but they wouldn’t be holding hearings over trivialities while throwing billions around like drunks tucking singles in a strip joint.

novaculus on March 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM

It’s all laid out in the Constitution:
.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, and to solve the NFL bounty problem, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

.
It’s good to recheck the Preamble once in a while.

listens2glenn on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

IL-08′s Joe Walsh was blasting his state’s senior Senator about this yesterday

And Tammy Duckworth is running against him on behalf of the restoration of the Pelosi autocracy.

jhnone on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Term limits are indeed way overdue. It isn’t that the congress critters are doing nothing; they are doing plenty in the form of lining their pockets while building themselves golden parachutes. There are people in both parties guilty of this – hence the ‘strongly worded complaints’ from Boehner and others. It is the old guard “go along to get along” in action. Too many of them simply do not want to rock the boat and stop the cash cow flow. Sadly, we are watching the best government money (ours) can buy. Even worse, this goes right over the heads of the majority of our electorate’s heads. So much house cleaning to do – so little time.

ghostwalker1 on March 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Old and Busted: Bonehead openly weeping.
New Hotness: Speaking strongly, then folding and openly weeping.

Boehner is unwilling to play hardball. He, like much of the GOP, lacks any kind of fire to go on offense…even though it is what the people demand of a Speaker.

search4truth on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Every Congress critter that holds hearings on this should be impeached for malfeasance in office. Over 1,040 days and the damn Senate can’t pass a budget but has time for this crap????

Bob in VA on March 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

lea on March 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM

That would be fine if we had a news media that was not the propaganda arm of the democrat party.

jdkchem on March 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

The problem is that’s all Boehner does is complain. If only we had bolder, stronger leaders.

dmn1972 on March 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Washington runs on spending money. It does seem unlikely that Speaker Boehner, who runs the House and controls the House’s power of the purse, would allow himself to be ignored and played for a fool time after time.

RJL on March 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Is Dick Durbin pulling my … uh … chain?

azkag on March 23, 2012 at 2:09 PM

speaking of seriousness…. I finish reading your piece Ed, and there is an ad that reads “STOP THE KOCH BROTHERS, The Koch Brothers are funding the fight against the EPA, Help the EPA fight back”

Talk about mixed signals? Seriousness? I understand the ad revenue thing for pageviews and clicks, but one of the biggest righty blogs in the universe should have some say about the ads? No?

maineconservative on March 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM

The Senate’s inability to fulfill its constitutional requirement should be part of next week’s argument against the SCOTUS’ historical presumption that the congress does not pass laws that are unconstitutional. THIS Senate obviously does not worry about what the constitution says as evidenced by their dereliction on the budget AND by their dereliction and trickery in passing Obamacare.

WhyNot on March 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

the only surprise is that it was Durbin and not “Chuckie” Schumer hustling to get in front of the cameras to capitalize on the bounty-scandal.

olesparkie on March 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

What’s the senate doing to ensure gender equality in pro football?

Akzed on March 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I hear Sandra Fluke’s ball handling skills are legendary.

NapaConservative on March 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Nice job Speaker Boehner..Nice job on calling out Dingy Harry and the Senate Democrats..:)

Dire Straits on March 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM

This is how the PR Admin works, Paul Ryan shows something, time to conceal with nonsense.

YOU HAVE TO YELL LOUDER AND FLAIL YOUR ARMS

John Kettlewell on March 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM