Keeping the lights on

Congress' members at loggerheads over many fixable issues

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Another major budget decision in Washington, another showdown.

The federal fiscal year starts Oct. 1, but there’s no 2012 budget in place, and Congress this week had to come up with temporary spending measures to keep the government going in order to avoid a partial shutdown.

Why is this happening?

Several reasons.

First, Democrats in charge of the Senate have not approved a federal budget since early 2009 – not even in 2010, when the party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.

The Republican House passed a 2012 budget back in April, but the Senate has failed to answer it. Normally the two chambers work out differences in a conference committee, then pass a unified bill.

But again, this is a Senate that hasn’t passed a budget since 2009 – which seems to be against the law.

Instead, Democrats have decided to wait until the money runs out and declare a crisis they can blame on Republicans. In this case, Republicans wanted disaster relief funds in the budget to be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget – a pretty responsible and reasonable step to take, when our annual deficit already exceeds $1 trillion. But Democrats are highly allergic to spending cuts.

In short, House Speaker John Boehner has managed to run a functional and productive House where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not: As syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock notes, “Through September 15, the GOP House had voted 711 times. Meanwhile, across the same period, the Democratic Senate had only 137 recorded votes.”

Yes, the Senate is supposed to be more deliberative. But come on. The dog can’t always eat your homework!

So that’s one big reason.

Another reason for the stalemates is that Democrats categorically reject the message sent by voters last November, which was to cut spending and get the nation’s fiscal house in order. It’s as if the “shellacking” of 2010 – the president’s word, not ours – never happened.

Conversely, the young lions of the Tea Party movement have adhered to the people’s mandate religiously, perhaps to a fault. They need to understand they can’t change Washington overnight – and that it’s not treasonous to sometimes accept what you can get when the cards are stacked against you. And the cards are stacked against them, at least until the next election. Speaker Boehner has done yeoman’s work by navigating the differing currents in the House – running rings around Reid legislatively.

But the bigger-picture reason that Washington is at loggerheads, especially at budget time, is that the nation’s leadership may be in a slow two-year transition – from left-wing rule to more centrist/right of center management. Only time will tell.

Oddly enough, Democrats would likely benefit from following the House’s lead. If the government were more aggressive about cutting spending, that would most likely shore up confidence in the financial markets, and perhaps lead to a more vibrant economy.

Don’t hold your breath, though. For now, we just need to keep the lights on.

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wtinney
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wtinney 09/27/11 - 09:54 pm
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I agree with the AC on most

I agree with the AC on most of this editorial piece. Still, I must take exception to the following:

"Conversely, the young lions of the Tea Party movement have adhered to the people’s mandate religiously, perhaps to a fault. They need to understand they can’t change Washington overnight – and that it’s not treasonous to sometimes accept what you can get when the cards are stacked against you. And the cards are stacked against them, at least until the next election. Speaker Boehner has done yeoman’s work by navigating the differing currents in the House – running rings around Reid legislatively".

To those that elected those young lions, you bet it is treasonous to vote against the principles they displayed in their campaigns. For decade after decade, the people with a Tea Party-like mind were told to suck it up, get over it, or "that was the best I could do under the circumstances" by their "representatives". NO MORE!

These young lions better tow the line or they will lose their jobs. Just like Barrett post-TARP vote, you could stick a fork in him he was so done in the state of South Carolina. There was no way he was going to win the Governorship. He would have likely not won re-election to U.S. House, SC - 3 seat either. There is zero room for error now on the part of anybody that wins with the Tea Party zeal. And all the Tea Party members know this is true and are willing to buck the leadership first - before bucking their constituents.

Case in point, Boehner was given a really kind appraisal by the AC. Boehner is no Tea Partier, he does not support Tea Party principles, he voted in favor of and helped engineer the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which actually started the seeds of voter angst and allowed for an organizational framework to swell during the Obamacare debates (and town meetings). He is stripping committee assignments and "punishing" tea partiers for towing the line with their constituents. It is Boehner that, even if republicans increase their majority in the House in 2012, should still lose his job and be replaced by someone that will be more in line with this heroic movement that might be the last, best chance for this economy and this country to survive.

desertcat6
1140
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desertcat6 09/28/11 - 12:30 am
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wtinney, You nailed an

wtinney, You nailed an important point on TP representatives and the folks they representatives. One those calling for compromise fail to acknowledge or understand. Many TP affiliated officials are adhering to election promises. Some are rolling over. The next election will tell a lot about the direction of our country and the TP movement.

Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 09/28/11 - 03:49 am
0
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Want to do your part to

Want to do your part to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid? Report suspected violations to the USDHHS IG at:

1-800-HHS-TIPS.

Don't just bi-, no, complain. ACT.

carcraft
28432
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carcraft 09/28/11 - 04:27 am
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Graig where we report $14.00

Graig where we report $14.00 muffins and $500 million dollar bad loans?

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 09/28/11 - 05:13 am
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CAR, you report it directly
Unpublished

CAR, you report it directly to the Obama Administration. He'll fix it. He's the candidate for "change," remember? Yeah, I'm laughing too.

Riverman1
93346
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Riverman1 09/28/11 - 05:32 am
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FEMA found an extra $40

FEMA found an extra $40 million they didn't know they had so they can continue to operate. If we didn't print so much money, I bet we would take better care of it.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 09/28/11 - 07:28 am
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RIVER, Amen!
Unpublished

RIVER, Amen!

shrimp for breakfast
5641
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shrimp for breakfast 09/28/11 - 08:21 am
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Just what are these idiots

Just what are these idiots doing in Washington besides taking up space and spending our tax dollars? I shall remember them all at the polls!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/28/11 - 08:39 am
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Budget?! We don't need any

Budget?! We don't need any stinking budget!

Our politicians spend whatever they want, whenever they want. The budget is just a formality that they'd never adhere to anyway.

The waste, the fraud, the "investment" into private business, the redistribution of our wealth to the poor, the lazy and also to the elite is more than any sane person can handle. (did you read about the food stamp lines in Philadelphia yesterday? how about getting a job and earning the money for you food!!!!!)

I vote for another luxury vacation for obama and 2 weeks off for Congress. Oh never mind, already planned.

harley_52
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harley_52 09/28/11 - 09:13 am
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It may be of little comfort,

It may be of little comfort, but even the Europeans are sick and tired of Obama and his Administration. They're using words like "stupid," "arrogant," "overbearing," and "absurd" to describe him and his Administration.

onlysane1left
223
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onlysane1left 09/28/11 - 10:08 am
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Just 2 quick thoughts on this

Just 2 quick thoughts on this piece:

1. If the Senate hasn't passed a budget in 3 years, what money has been used to keep the government running? According to my research, they have approved a budget every year even the one for 2012......

2. If the "young lions" of the Tea Party were put there to change Washington for the people, and now realize they can't, shouldn't they be fired also, so we can get someone who will change things in Washington?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/28/11 - 10:23 am
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The "young lions" are doing

The "young lions" are doing all they can do. They and the rest of the Republican dominated House submitted a budget. The Democrat ruled Senate won't approve the budget that was submitted to them. Probably because the budget cuts spending and it is good for America.

This was all stated clearly above. "The Republican House passed a 2012 budget back in April, but the Senate has failed to answer it."

onlysane1. I think you need to do more research. It is fact that we have not had a budget since 2009. Which was an interesting year..... I believe that is when the dictator... errr..... messiah...... errr...... obama took over.

carcraft
28432
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carcraft 09/28/11 - 10:27 am
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onlysaneoneleft-The

onlysaneoneleft-The government has been running on "continuing resolutions". Under continuing resolutions money is allocated to keep the government running for a given period of time. The last budget imbroglio occured because the Tea Party folks were not going to allow a continuing resolution to pass the House unless deficit reductions were in place and Harry Reid of the Senate would not pass such an appropriations Bill in the Senate. All spending bills have to originate in the House of Representatives per the US Constitution.

carcraft
28432
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carcraft 09/28/11 - 10:30 am
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Of course Nancy Pelosi was to

Of course Nancy Pelosi was to busy ramming Health Care Reform and the "Stimulus" Bill down our throats to preform her Constitutional duties and pass a budget!

onlysane1left
223
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onlysane1left 09/28/11 - 11:05 am
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April 2, 2009 - US Senate

April 2, 2009 - US Senate passes federal budget 55-43-1

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm...

This budget set up the limits for the future budgets from 2010 to 2014. Only when change are made is when the budget is put up for review and chagned. This has been going on for years. The Sentate didnt vote of the budgets for 2007-2008, only thee necessary changes. This is misleading article. Good Job to fuel the rabid fans, ACES!!!!!! Lets blame all the people we can instead working together to solve problems........

Keep the wisecracks coming, but the truth lies above the minor details. Let FAUX, ACES and EIB keep your sights limited and your view narrowed......

harley_52
25799
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harley_52 09/28/11 - 11:53 am
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onlysane1left said.... "This

onlysane1left said....

"This budget set up the limits for the future budgets from 2010 to 2014. Only when change are made is when the budget is put up for review and chagned. This has been going on for years. The Sentate didnt vote of the budgets for 2007-2008, only thee necessary changes."

Oddly enough, your vote summary proves nothing at all. What it does is demonstrate either your lack of understanding of the issue, or your willingness to try to obfuscate the issue with a fake an answer, or both. Which is it?

justthefacts
24950
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justthefacts 09/28/11 - 11:59 am
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Harley, rhetorical? I know

Harley, rhetorical? I know you know the answer.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/28/11 - 01:40 pm
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The silence is deafening.

The silence is deafening.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 09/28/11 - 01:49 pm
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The only thing that will
Unpublished

The only thing that will change Washington and the beltline boys and girls; an h-bomb.

augusta citizen
10002
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augusta citizen 09/28/11 - 03:37 pm
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Yep, drum roll, still

Yep, drum roll, still waiting....

TrulyWorried
16487
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TrulyWorried 09/28/11 - 08:54 pm
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Lock them all in a room - not

Lock them all in a room - not until they come to an acceptable solution should they be let out. They do that when they vote for a Pope!

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