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The Senate has officially rejected the final ransom demands from House Republicans, demands that weren't actually intended to keep the government open, but to make the Democratic Senate look bad for refusing to go to conference for a six-week spending bill.
How do you know it's just about trying to make Democrats look bad? Because since May, every effort of Democrats to appoint budget conferees has been blocked by Republicans. All 18 times the Senate Democrats moved to go to conference with the House on a budget, Republicans objected.
For Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, the move is ironic. She has been trying for more than a half-year to go to a conference to work out dramatic differences between the Senate budget and the House version. Senate and House Republicans have objected, repeatedly. [...]
"We know going to a conference means that we have to compromise -- that's what a conference is," Murray said just before midnight. "But we're not going to do it with a gun to our head that says we're shutting government down and we're going to conference over a short little six-week C.R. We have to deal with the longer-term budget. We have asked many times to go to conference on that."
Indeed, Murray and her colleagues asked 18 times. They have been blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a group of tea party Republicans led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The House Republicans, it should be noted, have refused to even appoint budget conferees until this last-ditch demand Monday night. Back in June, after three months of inaction from Republicans, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi unilaterally appointed Democratic conferees, to little effect. Republicans still ignored calls for a budget conference.
So all the theatrics you're about to see from Republicans on their simple desire just to have a conference is just that: a big show.