Monday, March 01, 2010

Bipartisanship In Action

The Washington Monthly
Two thousand federal transportation workers will be furloughed without pay on Monday, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that also expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans.

Bunning's reaction, when pressed on the issue:

"Tough shit."

But Lamar Alexander claims that if the Democrats pass the health care bill through reconciliation, it will "end the Senate as a protector of minority rights, the place where you have to get consensus, instead of just a partisan majority."

Of course, reconciliation wasn't a problem for Senator Alexander the times he voted for it.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warns of a "severe reaction" if reconciliation is used.

Of course, he didn't have a problem when it was used 19 other times to pass bills the Republicans liked, like the Bush tax cuts.

You know what, Senator Alexander, Senator McConnell? You've had plenty of chances to have a say in this, and your reaction has always been to whine that anything less than total capitulation isn't being "bipartisan."

Well, tough shit. Pass the damn bill.


Morgan Mandel said...

I'd like to know his reasons for not okaying it. That would make a difference on whether or not I approve of his action.

Morgan Mandel

JD Rhoades said...

From the linked article, Bunning appears to be one of those Republicans who's suddenly terribly concerned about spending now that a Democrat (who he refers to as "your President") is in the White House.

David said...

Yep, that's Beanball Bunning in action. Even if he weren't retiring, he might have done it simply to be an asshat, which is something he's naturally talented at.

Anonymous said...

Ray White says:

What I'd like to know is how any Republican can block anything in the Senate. Democrats still have a 59 to 41 seat majority and it only takes 51 votes to pass a bill.

And, oh yeah, the Majority leader of the Senate--good old Harry Reid--can force any bill to the floor for a vote that he wants to bring there. So don't think that just because a Senator chairs a committee he or she can block a bill without the tacit approval of the Senate Majority leader.

You want a health care bill? Any other bill? Ask the Democrats--who still rule both the House and Senate why we don't have one. For the past year the Republicans might as well have been home for all the clout they had in Congress.

Wake up and stop blaming Republicans for everything bad. The Democrats are equally at fault. I say throw ALL of them out and start over.

Ray White

Tom said...

Anon, you must never have worked in a sausage factory.

Simple solutions, like 'No Incumbents,' will have a tsunami of unintended consequences.

I presume you don't consider a block of C4 a suitable tool for a coronary bypass?

David said...

Ray, the Senate is set up do that any Senator can block practically anything, at least for a little while.

Also, the Red Team in the Senate has arranged for what's effectively a standing filibuster, even though nobody actually has to get up and read the phone book or whatever. If the Blue Team in the Senate wants to do something, it needs to muster 60 votes to be able to get to a point where 51 votes would be enough. It does not help that some members of the Senate's Blue Team seem less than enthusiastic about being part of it, or that its leader is Harry "The Spelunker" Reid.