House GOP And The Budget: It's Not My Job
I wanted to post this right after the House GOP retreat last month, but decided to wait because I might have been overreacting.
Now, however, the proof is indisputable: Even though they are in the majority in the House and make a great deal of noise about being part of the policy-making process, Republicans have clearly now abdicated all responsibility when it comes to the federal budget and simply decided it's someone else's job.
Consider the following:
1. After failing miserably on the fiscal cliff (remember the abortive Plan B?), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that it was now up to the Senate to deal with the situation.
2. Boehner also announced that he will no longer negotiate directly with the president on anything having to do with the budget. He reiterated that again this week when he said at a press conference that he now was going to let the Senate go first because, whenever he negotiated directly with this president it was his "rear end that got burnt.”
3. Immediately after the GOP retreat, House Republicans came up with a scheme to avoid having to vote on the debt ceiling by making believe it doesn't exist. But Boehner then insisted that the most important part of that same No Budget No Pay legislation is that it would require someone else -- the Senate -- to do something, that is, to adopt a budget for fiscal 2014. Boehner made this statement even though each house house just passing its own budget -- which is No Budget No Pay requires, is the equivalent of Congress not agreeing to anything and, therefore, is largely meaningless.
4. The House GOP then adopted legislation that requires the White House to declare when it will balance the budget. This fiscal equivalent of announcing a timetable for the withdrawal of troops -- something the GOP always vehemently opposes when it comes to the Pentagon -- follows last year's Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan that didn't balance the budget for 25 years.
5. House Republicans continue to try to blame the Obama administration for the sequester even though more than 75 percent of them voted in favor of it.
6. Last Wednesday, as reported in The Hill by Erik Wasson and Molly K. Hooper,House Republicans told the Senate that it was up to it to stop the sequester from occurring on March 1.
7. The Hill also reported last week in a story by Russell Berman that Boehner said it was up to the Senate to consider what the president proposed in his State of the Union Address. The exact quote was "...it must start in the part of Congress controlled by his own political party."