The Senate on Wednesday voted down the House budget bill, with its string of $61 billion in mostly political cuts through Sept. 30. That formally puts an end to the House’s grandstand play. But the Senate also rejected its Democratic leaders’ own plan to cut $6.5 billion. The government’s financing is due to run out in eight days. To prevent a shutdown, the two chambers will probably have to agree to yet another short-term financing bill.[...]Now, moving on to EJ:
Mr. Obama could well follow the example of Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, who on Wednesday called for a “re-set” of the negotiating process. The only way to have a meaningful discussion of the budget, he said in a speech, is to consider all of its parts at once over the long term, not for a few weeks or months at a time. That includes all the issues the Republicans wouldn’t deal with in their bill: cuts to the entitlement programs and to the Pentagon budget and ways to raise revenues at the same time.
The Republicans, as Mr. Schumer noted, aren’t really interested in lowering the deficit. If they were, they would never have insisted on $800 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy without paying for them, or on repealing the health care law, which saves $230 billion over a decade.
They are only interested in slashing government, no matter the cost to the country. It is time for the president — and responsible Congressional leaders of both parties — to reject their tactics and their goal.
Washington Democrats, including President Obama, have allowed conservative Republicans to dominate the budget debate so far. As long as the argument is over who will cut more from federal spending, conservatives win. Voters may think the GOP is going too far, but when it comes to dollar amounts, they know Republicans will always cut more.At this point, I would like to avoid the government shutdown but if they do, he GOP will get the blame.
In Wisconsin, by contrast, 14 Democrats in the state Senate defined the political argument on their own terms - and they are winning it.
By leaving Madison rather than providing a quorum to pass Gov. Scott Walker's assault on collective bargaining for public employees, the Wisconsin 14 took a big risk. Yet to the surprise of establishment politicians, voters have sided with the itinerant senators and the unions against a Republican governor who has been successfully portrayed as an inflexible ideologue. And in using questionable tactics to force the antiunion provision through the Senate on Wednesday, Republicans may win a procedural round but lose further ground in public opinion.
Here's the key to the Wisconsin battle: For the first time in a long time, blue-collar Republicans - once known as Reagan Democrats - have been encouraged to remember what they think is wrong with conservative ideology. Working-class voters, including many Republicans, want no part of Walker's war.[...]
Which brings us to the Washington Democrats. Up to now, the only thing clear about the budget fight is that Democrats want to cut less from discretionary spending than Republicans do. Quietly, many Democrats acknowledge that they have been losing this argument.[...]
To this point, Washington Democrats have been too afraid and divided to engage compellingly on the fundamentals of what government is there to do and how the burdens of deficit reduction should be apportioned. Wisconsin Democrats have shown that the only way to win arguments is to take risks on behalf of what you believe. Are Washington Democrats prepared to learn this lesson?