Friday, October 30, 2015

Senate Easily Passes Bipartisan Budget Act

by JASmius

"This is exactly the opposite of what every conservative Republican in America wants, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it,  I will filibuster it, I’ll delay it, I’ll shout about it. I’m going to talk about it until I’m tired of talking about it and until people wake up and say this is wrong for the country....What's that?  It already passed?

"Um, never mind":

The Senate voted early Friday morning to approve a two-year budget deal that would increase spending limits and avert a damaging default, essentially ending the budgetary battles that have defined Barack Obama’s relationship with Congress in recent year

The legislation passed by a vote of 64-35 after overcoming objections from conservative senators, including presidential candidates Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), that forced a rare series of votes at 1 a.m. Barack Obama has until November 3rd to sign the agreement before the debt-limit deadline set by the Treasury Department.

Parenthetically, what if Obama changed his mind, decided that the BBA still doesn't have enough domestic spending and has too much defense spending, and vetoed it instead, forcing a default in order to extract even more concessions from congressional Republicans?  I mean, it's not as if the media wouldn't take his side and blame the default on the GOP for being so "cruel and miserly," nor that the American public wouldn't back his gambit as well.  And he'd have absolutely no reason not to expect Boehner and McConnell to give him everything he demanded and more.

Just a thought for those of you out there who think that there's such a concept in Barack Obama's reality as "enough".

As for the BBA, it was always going to pass, because it unites Democrats and divides Republicans between fiscal conservatives who believe that conspicuously fighting this White House can ever succeed and defense hawks who understand that without a country no other issue matters.

Not that Ted Cruz was wrong in his Senate floor comments, other than his use of one obnoxious term:

Conservatives in both chambers criticized the deal both because it was hatched behind closed doors rather than through the committee process and because they argued it is bad policy.

Many complained that the provisions in the bill that are used to offset the cost of the new spending are gimmicks or promise savings in the future for money the government will spend immediately.

Cruz criticized leaders for negotiating behind closed doors and for agreeing to Barack Obama’s [commands] for additional spending.

“This wasn’t a slapdash on a post-it note last night,” Cruz said. “This represents days or weeks or months of negotiations. This represents the Cartel in all of its glory because this is the combined work product of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.” [emphasis added]

No, it represents the work product of Nancy Pelosi and Harry (G)Reid forcing John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to pass it at figurative gunpoint.  The reality is that as long as Barack Obama and his pen, phone, and putter are in the White House, congressional Republicans, as a practical political and power matter, will never have any leverage.  And Boehner and McConnell will not "FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!: without that leverage.  They know that if they force a default showdown, the GOP will be forever blamed for it, and that Obama would just take what he wanted anyway by Executive Order and a majority of the constitutionally ignorant American public would support him.  That's the lesson GOP leaders took from Senator Cruz's 2013 shutdown showdown, which he promised would move mountains and work miracles but in the end turned out precisely as we old-pro political observers always knew it would.

I believe the old expression goes, "Never throw rocks at a guy holding a machine gun."

Don't misunderstand, had I been a Member on either side of the Capitol, I would have voted against the BBA, for the non-fratricidal reasons Senator Cruz gave.  Like I said, he wasn't wrong.

But the political and power realities are what they are.  And it's long past time that conservatives stop raging against the darkness and start electing some more lit candles, starting with a sympatico POTUS over whom gaining leverage will not be necessary.

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