Let the budget games commence. Or more concisely, let the budget games resume.
Has your family ever had a boardgame set up on the rarely employed dining room table, failed to allot enough time to finish the session and then decided as a group to leave it in that frozen moment in time until you all agreed to pick up where you left off? Meanwhile, days become weeks and weeks become months with the contest invitingly beckoning you to finish it every time you pass by the room until finally the head of household (usually mom) declares that enough is enough and orders the game dismantled and the pieces returned to their box?
If this describes your loved ones, you’ve now got a mental picture of what’s going on in Congress right now. Lawmakers have returned from their summer recesses only to find that the same “game” they had set up when they left town remained in pristine, untouched condition upon reentering the arena. Only the national debt is larger, the political pressure to not commit to anything so close to an election is exponentially more intense and the only urgency the politicians feel is to get home to campaign and spend what’s left of their fundraising war chests to try and save their hides.
Americans should take a break from watching president senile Joe Biden and his merry band of Democrat “MAGA Republican” bashing shills and losers and gander at what’s going on behind closed doors in Congress. If it’s autumn, this means congressmen and senators will initiate the same budget dance that they perform every year at this time. As a group, today’s pols understand that they haven’t done much work on the appropriations process to this point, so instead they’re gearing up to try and shove through another continuing resolution that will fund the government at status quo levels (or with slight funding increases) through a date they’ll specify in the gargantuan legislation.
Invariably there will be disagreements over side issues. It turns out that Senate Majority Leader “Chucky” Schumer made a promise to “moderate” (NOT!) West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin in July to include “permitting reform” in this year’s budget continuing resolution proposal. As he reiterated last week, “Chucky” fully intends to keep his word to Mountain State Joe, a pinky swear bargain that’s ruffling leftist feathers among the Democrat rank and file. What’s a climate change worshipping Democrat to do, risk a government shutdown or make your “green” lobbyists angry?
In an article titled “Schumer in tough spot over Manchin promise”, Alexander Bolton, Aris Foley and Rachel Frazin reported at The Hill:
“Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) [las week] pledged to add permitting reform legislation to a stopgap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown, but he’s in a tough spot as he seeks to deliver on a promise to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
“The permitting reform is a side-deal Schumer struck with Manchin in late July to pass a climate, tax and health care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is projected to help reduce that nation’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030...
“But that plan is running into opposition from progressive House Democrats and outside environmental groups. There’s also a chance that several Senate Democrats may balk at the deal with Manchin, now that they no longer need his vote to pass a budget reconciliation bill. Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) office told The Hill [last week] that 50 lawmakers had signed onto his letter calling for a separate vote on the permitting reform provisions instead of putting them in the continuing resolution.”
Using my boardgame analogy from above, this is like everyone agreeing to continue the game that was started eons (or so it seems) ago but once the action comes around to your turn, one of your fellow players refuses to pass the dice unless you agree to a trade he or she proposed five minutes before play was suspended a hundred days (years?) before.
And yes, Democrats really ARE that childish! Who cares what “Chucky” promised to Joe Manchin – what’s it got to do with saving the whole gosh darn planet from the ravages of “climate change” anyway? Do you think Raúl Grijalva, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (and her “Squad”) and the rest of the House climate kooks give a rat’s patootie about what two senators agreed to two months ago?
Further, in a sure sign of how screwed up things are today in Congress, some Democrats hope to attach a federal “marriage equality” provision to the funding bill, but the movers of the gay marriage plank are annoyed that it wouldn’t get ten Republicans to sign-on and therefore make essentially the whole shebang subject to a filibuster. Like sure, you can’t pass it separately out in the open, so why not sneak the major wish from the LGBTQIA+++++ (times infinity) gestapo into the budget talks?
Most conservatives would vote for neither the marriage bill nor the continuing resolution, so Democrat leaders aren’t worried about achieving any kind of unanimity. They just want enough “yeas” to get what they want – which is to spend more and more and more taxpayer (or borrowed) money! And to inexorably change culture.
Here is where the problem lies. The “side” deal that “Chucky” and Manchin made includes some goodies for the fossil fuel industry, something the latter pol insisted upon in order to vote for the larger, slush-loaded Inflation Reduction Act that senile Joe and the leadership wanted. Now that the IRA is already passed, however, the wackos have zero incentive to go along with the “extra” side agreement before the election.
What, you won’t do more fossil fuels just to make Joe Manchin happy? It’s the shocker of all shockers! This is like returning to our proverbial boardgame and finding that over the course of time, someone – or multiple participants – had snuck downstairs during the middle of the night and rearranged some of the pieces to a more advantageous position for themselves. Who would ever remember, right? I think every Democrat would do the same thing!
At any rate, I’m guessing “Chucky” Schumer is telling the truth on this one and definitely intends to make good on his assurance to Manchin to include the permitting stuff in the omnibus funding measure. It’s no political skin off of “Chucky’s” nose to do so, and it’s even something a good many Republicans would probably support, depending on how much of a concession it turns out to be.
But “Chucky” probably agreed to the original deal with Manchin because he figured the protective greenies would never go for it and the permitting provisions wouldn’t make it to the final reconciliation negotiations in a million summers. Democrats don’t care whether the government shuts down over such trivial things, because they’ll just blame any work stoppage on Republicans, and the obedient suckers in the establishment media will naturally go along with the assertion!
It could also be that Manchin himself inserted the fossil fuel permitting sidenote to make it appear to his coal mining and natural gas producing state that he’s a tough negotiator and would never have gotten to yes with “Chucky” on the full IRA unless he was “assured” by the leader that his constituents would be taken care of in the end. Joe’s not dumb – he had to surmise that such things, if separate from the main “Inflation Reduction Act”, wouldn’t have a prayer of sneaking by the nutso environmentalists in the lower chamber. You know, the Democrats in safe urban districts who aren’t worried about pleasing anyone but the low-information brainless morons who keep voting them back into office.
“Let’s get things done!” Move those tokens around the board and finish the game!
Here’s thinking sneaky Democrats will find a way to pass the Continuing Resolution without Manchin’s permitting perks attached and there will be enough RINO Republican sellout votes to make the West Virginian’s “no” vote irrelevant. The swamp always wins in these scenarios, particularly when the parties to the original “deal” don’t care about whether it ultimately passes or not.
The same goes for the “marriage equality” (translation: gay legal unions) bill, which Democrats and Maine Republican senator Susan Collins hope like heck will be brought to a vote before November’s midterm elections. Liberals always figure that Republicans will cave on cultural issues so as to look more “moderate” to their suburban female voters. With this group already allegedly frantic with rage over the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, do you think politicians like Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and the wishy-washy RINOs that are “retiring” this year will have the gumption to deny the current “woke” movements?
At least as far as this issue is concerned, I’d bet Mitch McConnell wouldn’t dream of allowing “marriage equality” to divide his caucus before the election. There won’t be ten Republicans who would consent to end debate on a stand-alone bill, so if it’s going to go anywhere, Democrat leaders would need to attach it to the CR and bet that either side wouldn’t dare risk a government shutdown so close to an election.
This is the way the political game is played in Washington and it’s the main reason why real reform never gets done in Congress. Too many elected lawmakers only worry about the pressures of the moment and don’t consider what’s best for the republic in the long term.
Both houses of Congress will go back and forth over this year’s budget continuing resolution and deals will be offered and consummated without American citizens even knowing about them. The ultimate game will never end until the political class decides it’s time to quit throwing up meaningless roadblocks. We need new party leaders and a lot of new legislators. Will we get them in two months?
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