This story from The Hill has a double dose of irony after a week in which the national media, which had been on New Civility watch since January, ignored the explosion of angry rhetoric from Democrats and their own ranks comparing Tea Party activists to terrorists . Harry Reid and other Democrats in the Senate now whine that the national media won’t report their spin on the impasse over FAA funding as fact:
When Jonathan Karl, a correspondent for ABC News, asked why Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) had blocked a short-term FAA extension offered by Republicans on the Senate floor Tuesday, Democrats lost their patience.
“There’s a certain naivety that comes with your question,” said Boxer. “The story here today is the fact that our leader is reaching out to [House Speaker John] Boehner [R-Ohio] to say, ‘If we want to resolve a particular issue, whatever it might be, let’s talk about it,’ but not have one side say, ‘Take it or leave it or people will be out of work.’ And the essence of your question doesn’t understand that.”
House Republicans have offered Senate Democrats a short-term extension of the FAA authorization that would close several small rural airports in the home states of Democratic senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rockefeller.
Rockefeller objected to the House GOP’s bill on the Senate floor and proposed instead a clean short-term extension of the reauthorization that would not have closed small airports, which Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) blocked on Tuesday. …
Democrats say the real issue behind the fight is not the Essential Air Service program, which subsidies small rural airports. They say Republicans have threatened to cut it only to force them to give ground on a bigger issue, a new regulation put out by the National Mediation Board, which makes it easier for airline employees to vote to unionize.
In fact, Reid actually demonstrated the extent of this irony when challenged by a reporter on his take:
One reporter asked why Democrats didn’t swallow the cuts to small airports in their states to pass the short-term authorization and then return in September “to fight another day.”
But Reid retorted that Republicans would find other “hostages” to force Democrats to back down on the labor issue.
Hostage takers! Everyone playing Democratic Demagoguery Bingo can take a drink now.
Procedurally, Rockefeller and Coburn did the same thing. They both refused to provide unanimous consent to proceed with a bill. Democrats in the Senate have an advantage in that they can overcome a lack of unanimous consent more easily, albeit through a lengthier process. Furthermore, the bill that Rockefeller pushed would have to then go through the House because it was completely different in scope from the House version. By that time, though, the House had recessed — two weeks after passing its version of the FAA authorization bill, on July 20th.
The Senate had HR 2553 placed on its legislative calendar on July 22nd, a Friday prior to a weekend in which Harry Reid demanded that the House remain in town to work. So why didn’t Reid put forward his own FAA extension bill? Before Harry Reid became Senate Majority Leader, the process had each chamber pass their own version of a bill and then form a conference committee to iron out the differences. This year, however, Reid has refused to move bills, insisting that the House pass versions of bills acceptable to Reid before he deigns to work on them at all. It’s not as if the Senate was busy with other work at the time.
That’s why the FAA remains in partial shutdown. It’s not because Republicans took the FAA “hostage,” or some equally demagogic and paranoid fantasy in the febrile recesses of Harry Reid’s mind. It’s because the Senate didn’t do anything on the FAA extension until it was too late, thanks to Reid’s apparent fantasy of running a House of Lords rather than an American Senate.