Compromise over Confrontation


In Thursday’s Sacramento Bee:

‘The Senate approved a bipartisan federal budget Wednesday that could lead to two rare years of fiscal stability for a government that’s lurched from showdown to showdown for two years.

The modest plan largely maintains the status quo, doing nothing to reduce the national debt or curb the growth of Medicare, Social Security or other entitlement programs that drive budget deficits.

Nor does it guarantee the government will not shut down again early next year, though that prospect now appears highly unlikely. The agreement sets spending levels, and it’s now up to appropriations committees to fill in details of how the money will be spent.

The Senate approved the budget 64-36, with all 53 Democrats voting yes along with two independents and nine Republicans. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill, passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives last week.

“For the first time in years, both parties in both houses of Congress have come together to pass a budget,” Obama said in a statement. “It’s a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy.”

The small-scale agreement will ease the automatic spending cuts, or sequester, through the end of fiscal 2015. Washington will spend $63 billion more for discretionary programs, or those subject to annual congressional spending adjustments.’

First of all, I do agree with Harry the Horse that this is an opportunity for both parties in both Houses to finally end the gridlock which has essentially killed our view and respect of the Congress, by the fact that the Congress has only a 9% approval rating in a recent Gallup poll. But, leave it to the Horse to ruin the good feeling of compromise by spewing the following:

“Republicans have insisted on wasting 30 hours of the Senate’s time before allowing a final vote on this measure, even though they know it will pass with bipartisan support.”

Uhh, since when in this country, Senator, was anyone not permitted to voice disagreement with any action you or any person thought they were right and the rest of us were wrong? Is free speech now censored in the Senate? That’s why you, sir, are called the ‘Dictator of the Senate’ by me and others. And think about why I call you ‘Harry the Horse’. I could have called you the generic term for donkey, but then I could have been censored.

Nobody will agree with every piece of this deal, which is why it is called a compromise. But, as with every compromise, everyone gets something, but no one will get everything. For example, Democrats complained that the agreement did not address the Dec. 28 expiration of emergency unemployment benefits. No action is now expected before that date.

One of the more immediate aftermaths of the budget deal could come quickly. Senators from both parties were not pleased that the bill reduces cost-of-living adjustments for younger military retirees. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is pushing a plan to restore the adjustment, which would save $6 billion, by instead eliminating a tax break for offshore corporations.

Hey, Congress. Here is an idea! If all of you want to reinstate just these two pet projects, why not take the funds from, uhm, your pension funds? After all, why wouldn’t the Members of Congress, and the President, want to be like the rest of us? No one in this country receives their entire salary as a pension. Or am I wrong?

Finally, at least for the next two years, we won’t be at the edge of the fiscal cliff every three months or so. The people are tired of the drama in Washington and the Congress knows it. For the present, the upcoming midterms won’t be overshadowed by a quarterly budget crisis, and instead, real issues which affect real people will be debated and the resulting votes by the people will be a referendum of policies and practices on the Congress, and ultimately, the President’s performances.

Let’s be thankful the Congress finally learned the meaning of compromise. 2014 will prove to be an interesting political horse race.

Bets, anyone?