Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Were Screwed, Version Who Can Count 'Em

Game-playing as substitute for progress. Maybe there's a righty version of it that does them honor, but by this account, it's right wing bullshit in extremis.

For about three years, congressional Republicans had a talking point they were quite fond of: they wanted Congress to pass a budget through "regular order," but Senate Democrats have made that impossible by failing to pass a budget. In an interesting twist, GOP lawmakers have abandoned their own talking points -- and Democrats have picked them up.
First, let's back up and explain what "regular order" is. The budget process is supposed to follow a certain trajectory: the House approves its budget blueprint, then the Senate does the same, and a conference committee featuring members from both chambers get together to work out the differences. There are no secret deals, no shutdowns, and no stopgap measures -- just good ol' fashioned policymaking through a process that's been in place for many decades.
What Republicans are now seeking is some kind of pre-negotiations negotiations in which Democrats accept parameters of budget talks before there are actual budget talks.
In effect, Paul Ryan and his allies are telling Dems, "Accept the terms of our talks beforehand, or we won't talk at all." 
Again, keep in mind what Republicans said was their top priority: an open and transparent budget process through regular order, without special deals negotiated in secret. Republicans are instead now saying they want a closed budget process that abandons regular order, and which is reliant solely on deals negotiated in secret.

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