Our Cowardly Senate

Tonight all of the debt ceiling drama is in the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner is hoping to round up enough bills to pass his proposal to increase the debt ceiling and avoid a default.

Meanwhile, what’s happening in the Senate?  Nothing.  The house that likes to call itself “The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” has become the World’s Greatest Do-Nothing Body.  They wait, criticize the House of Representatives, try to dodge any responsibility or avoid taking any position that might cause them any kind of political pain, and spend their time pondering political maneuvering at the expense of the good of the country.  Although my inclinations are to favor budget-cutting to get us to fiscal sanity, I think you would be as disappointed in the performance of the majority-Democrat Senate if you were a hard-core progressive.  Why haven’t they independently debated and passed the Senate solution to the problem?  Because they don’t want to commit to anything.

Who knows what will happen with the Boehner plan, or whether our fractured, grossly dysfunctional and leaderless government will allow our country to suffer a needless, ruinous, and impoverishing default.  One thing is clear, however:  it is hard to imagine a more gutless, craven performance than we have seen from the Senate during this entire debt ceiling issue.  They have been a pathetic embarrassment to the concept of responsible representative government.

6 thoughts on “Our Cowardly Senate

  1. Last time I checked Harry Reid has a plan he has put forward that some call a “Republican Plan” because there are no revenue increases. When I listen to the Tea Party Republicans sounds like they honestly believe that they will have more leverage after the default date passes, but what damage will have been done no one really knows. It’s a BIG mess and gives me a headache thinking about it so I am going to go have an adult beverage.

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    • I’m already enjoying an adult beverage, myself.

      I guess my question is: why hasn’t Harry Reid put his plan up for a vote already? If his plan is so great, and commands the support of the Democrats in the Senate, why haven’t they committed to it, passed it and sent it to the House, and moved the ball forward? Saying you have a plan doesn’t do much if you never actually present it for passage.

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    • Gosh, thanks for the lesson and the kind words — but doesn’t Majority Leader Reid’s bill claim to simply make cuts, and not increase taxes? If so, there is no constitutional impediment to the Senate moving ahead, instead of waiting, waiting, and waiting — as they have done for years, incidentally, without passing a budget. If not, then his proposal has been misrepresented — which is certainly possible, because in the Senate nothing ever seems to get written down in actual bill form or made subject to a public hearing. The process we follow these days is not exactly what we learned about in civics class, is it?

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think there is a high-minded constitutional reason for the Senate’s failure to act.

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  2. This entire debacle has been frustrating in the extreme, and candidly, neither party and neither house is doing much to distinguish itself. The House is set on passing bills it knows cannot pass the Senate (a balanced budget amendment? really?), and the Senate, as you correctly note, is set on passing nothing at all. Truthfully, though, I think this reflects a genuine polarization among the electorate. Polls tell us many voters want compromise, but no one really knows what that’s supposed to look like.

    One thing I do note: we tend to accuse the other side of “failing to lead” when the other side refuses to accede to our demands, while simultaneously attacking leaders in our own party for ideological impurity if they give any ground on any issue. I do not know what the end result of this impasse will be, but I fear it will be unfortunate, and that both parties will argue with vigor that it is the fault of the other party’s capture by “special interests.” Do we blame our representatives, or instead ourselves for our failure to reward statesmanship every November?

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  3. …..With all the demagoguery and finger-wagging coming from Obama and the Democrats youd think they would never ever play politics with the debt ceiling. Only the Republicans would jeopardize Uncle Sams AAA credit rating and cut off grandmas Social Security checks..Except thats not true. At least since 2002 it has been a bipartisan episode to raise the federal governments borrowing limit. Each of the past ten debt limit authorizations prove it..In the following section notice how the Democrats didnt support higher debt limits until they took over Congress in 2007. And vice versa notice that Republicans then began opposing increases to the debt limit..In a Republican-controlled House authorized a 6.4 trillion debt limit. But 206 of 211 House Democrats voted against the debt limit increase..In a Republican-controlled House authorized a 7.384 trillion debt limit. But 199 of 206 House Democrats voted against it..In a Republican-controlled House authorized a 8.184 trillion debt limit. But 190 of 207 House Democrats voted against it..In a Republican-controlled House authorized a 8.965 trillion debt limit. But 195 of 202 House Democrats voted against it..In a Democrat-controlled House authorized a 9.815 trillion debt limit. But 192 of 201 House Republicans voted against it..In a Democrat-controlled House authorized a 10.615 trillion debt limit. But 149 of 199 House Republicans voted against it..Later in a Democrat-controlled House authorized a 11.315 trillion debt limit. But 108 of 199 House Republicans voted against it..In with Obama now in the White House a Democrat-controlled House voted for the TARP bill that also increased the debt limit to 12.104 trillion. But no House Republicans voted for it..Later in a Democrat-controlled House authorized a 12.394 trillion debt limit. Again no House Republicans voted for it..In a Democrat-controlled House authorized a 14.294 trillion debt limit. But no House Republicans voted for it..If I had to defend either position I suppose it would be easier to defend Republicans. At least the GOP can string together a sensible narrative that it decided it was finally time to sober up. But what about the Democrats? If it wasnt pure politics then how do they explain that they were against a higher debt limit before they were for it? There is no other reasonable explanation..But if you want a stupid explanation for the current debt ceiling debate cue Rep. .By the way it turns out the SJL voted against raising the debt limit in 2002 2003 2004 and 2006. Of course she was in favor of higher borrowing after the Democrats took over Congress in 2007..If I could have just one itty-bitty favor from the Arizona media itd be that they ask Rep.

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