Well, the current cause of hysteria among the leftist blogosphere is how the Republicans in the Senate are vowing to stop any and all legislation in the lame duck session except related to taxes and spending. This is putting a big crimp on the outgoing Democrats, who want to push through the DREAM Act, more health care “reform,” cap and trade, and about 3.5 metric shitloads of other liberal legislation before they actually have to leave after getting their asses kicked to the curb. This is leading to more charges of “obstructionism,” “the party of no,” and the like.
Tough. Suck it up.
Arguably, the most important and fundamental duty of Congress is to pass a budget. It needs to raise the money to allow the government to operate, and dictate how that money is to be spent.
By law and tradition, the way it works is this: the president submits a proposed budget to the House (where all spending bills must originate). The House takes the president’s budget, tosses it in the trash, and starts its own.
Then, when they get it all worked out, they pass it to the Senate, which makes its changes (sometimes minor, usually huge). Once they settle on their budget, they pass it, too.
And then the House and Senate have to reconcile the two different spending plans into one huge, bloated, incomprehensible mess — which they pass to the president (usually at least several weeks overdue) and he signs the whole thing. And at that point, any resemblance to the budget he submitted is entirely coincidental.
Anyway, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. And the way it’s worked for years, regardless of which party holds which branches.
Until this year. This year, the Democrats had a new, novel approach to the whole budget question:
Just Say No.
The House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Moonbatville), never once even considered a federal budget. They spent the entire spring and summer and fall dealing with pretty much anything and everything else, and not once put any effort into passing a budget. The Senate, under Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar’s Palace), was Constitutionally forbidden from taking any action on the matter, but could have applied some informal pressure to the House to get off their asses and do their jobs, but didn’t bother.
And President Obama (D-The Back Nine) likewise let it all slide, too. Oh, he submitted his budget back on February 1, but that’s where he stopped.
Well, what about that infamous “Republican obstructionism?” Can’t we put at least some of the blame on that?
Forget it. Because there was nothing to obstruct.
Remember, under the Constitution, the House has to start the budget process. And in the House, there is no filibustering. It’s a simple majority — and for this entire year, the Democrats held a significant majority, 235 to 198. Had they wanted to pass a budget (like they passed “health care reform”) over Republican objections and “obstructionism,” they could have.
But they didn’t.
My pet theory (and normally I don’t go for conspiracy theories) is that the Democrats, fearing a massacre at last November’s elections (a fear that was well-grounded), left the budget untouched as a legislative form of “poison pill” or land mine. If they managed to keep both Houses, they could push through a quickie budget, loaded with their favorite goodies, in the immediate post-election period — when they wouldn’t have to answer to the voters for a couple of years. But if they did suffer significant losses, they could then insist on the rush — and foist any and all blame on the “obstructionist Republicans” and note how the Republicans did so well in the elections — eliding over how the newly-elected Republicans (with very few exceptions) won’t actually take office until January.
So, when you hear about how the “obstructionist Republicans” are screwing with the federal budget and threatening a shutdown and the like, remember — the Democrats in Congress literally had all year to live up to their legal obligations, but didn’t do squat.
For this reason alone, every single member of Congress — not just the Democrats, but every Republican who didn’t daily call out the Democrats — should have been tossed out on their asses.
Well, this week it all comes to a head. The fiscal year started on October 1. The Democrats in Congress had nine full months to do something — anything — about a budget, and pissed it all away.
If that means that the government might get shut down for a little while, so be it. Let that be the crown jewel in Nancy Pelosi’s legacy, and a tribute to the magnificent leadership shown by the Democrats.