Yesterday, both the House and Senate Republican caucuses announced their budget plans for the 2016 fiscal year. As is the norm, both chambers took their own approach to funding priorities, and the next few weeks will produce tweaks and compromises that will eventually merge into a single budget plan for the various appropriations committees to use in both the House and the Senate. That’s the way budgets work in Washington, and the resolutions aren’t due for another month.
Politico’s John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman call the initial disagreement “cataclysmic for Republicans,” for some reason:
House Republican leaders suffered an embarrassing setback Wednesday night as their 2016 budget was temporarily derailed amid tensions between fiscal conservatives and defense hawks. …
The budget breakdown is indicative of the Republican Party’s deep internal fissures: The GOP is torn between fiscal hawks and defense hawks, and seemingly unable to reconcile the differences between the two.
Failing to pass a budget would be cataclysmic for Republicans. It would again prove they have difficulty with the basic functions of governing.
The Republican-led House passed budget resolutions every year since taking control in the 2010 midterms, while Senate Democrats under Harry Reid refused to pass any at all for four years. After less than 24 hours, though, a Republican “failure” to come up with an agreement between the House and the Senate is not just “cataclysmic” already, but proof that the GOP can’t handle the “basic functions of governing.” Republicans handled it for four years while Democrats failed to perform the basic function of legislating, but somehow that didn’t get seen as “cataclysmic” for them at Politico.
Maybe Politico’s analysts could wait more than a calendar day to set off the Cataclysm Alert. After all, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have quite a bit of time on the legislative calendar to work on this, plus any impasse can be resolved in conference committee, if need be. (Note to analysts: That was an option that Democrats refused to entertain, but it really does exist. You can look it up.) If they want to treat the Republican Senate the same way they treated Reid and his majority, they can set off the Cataclysm Alert in, oh … 200 weeks.