Re: Same old Democratic shenanigans
posted at 1:49 pm on November 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Erika, I had started to write a post about Patty Murray’s lack of concern about a budget, but then saw you already had the topic well in hand. I do want to add something about the larger problem that this deliberate tactic of failure represents, though, because the process that has existed for the last 1,296 days will continue to be the New Normal — and it’s a recipe for partisan brinksmanship.
The entire process has run off the rails during Barack Obama’s presidency. Normally, both chambers of Congress pass budgets after receiving a budget proposal from the White House (which Obama has provided every year, but whose last two proposals couldn’t even get a single Democratic vote in three floor votes). The two chambers then name conference committee members, and the budget gets worked out into a conference report. Once that passes, the President has to decide whether to sign or veto it.
People complain about a lack of bipartisan compromise in Congress, but it’s precisely the Democratic obstinacy on passing a Senate budget that destroys the opportunity to realize that kind of cooperation. That is exactly what conference committees provide, and they avoid the necessity of brinksmanship between party leaders to get anything accomplished. Republicans have fulfilled their responsibility each year of their House majority, but Democrats have deliberately obstructed the normal budget processes, presumably to continue to avoid political damage over their high-spending priorities but arguably also to create a heightened sense of crisis as a maneuvering strategy.
Everyone knows that the high priority for Murray and her Democratic colleagues running the Senate is to enact tax hikes. Perhaps they should have the courage to pass them in a budget first and conduct business in a responsible manner — even if voters arguably rewarded them for their irresponsibility in 2012.