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Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Reid (Reuters)
Speaker John Boehner's debt-ceiling posturing could be stemming from any number of problems he faces: a caucus he's trying to rally back to his side to stave off a leadership challenge; reminding the White House that he has a hostage to take when it comes time to negotiate the Bush tax cut extensions; trying to pull the debate to the far right where he's succeeded before in gaining massive spending cuts. Or, it could be, as this Politico article argues, he recognizes his own weakness in having nothing left to do by saying "no" to a debt ceiling hike, because the power on all of the so-called "fiscal cliff" issues that will converge at the end of the year is actually in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hands.

Those events: the sequester, the automatic budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act agreed to last year; the expiration of the Bush tax cuts; the expiration of unemployment benefits, and the payroll tax cuts. In each of these, Democrats have the option of just not acting. Reid seems to be ready to do just that—nothing—unless the Republicans relent on taxes.

So it is really Senate Democrats who are next in line to wield the power of “no.” In November and December, they’ll be in position to block Republican-backed legislation to stop an automatic 10 percent sequester of Pentagon funds and to extend high-end tax breaks for the wealthy. [...]

“I am not going to back off the sequestration,” Reid said. “That’s the law we passed. We did it because it wouldn’t make things easy for us. It made it so we would have to do something. And if we didn’t, these cuts would kick in.”
“To now see the Republicans scrambling to do away with the cuts to defense, I will not accept that,” Reid said. “My people — in the state of Nevada and I think the country — have had enough of whacking all the programs. We’ve cut them to a bare bone, and defense is going to have to bear their share of the burden.”

The bottom line, Reid reiterates, is that Republicans have to move on revenue increases. Reid seems to recognize that Boehner has painted himself into a corner, one that Grover Norquist has helped shove him into: “'We did it knowing the pain, and maybe the pain would cause Grover Norquist to wither away,' Reid said. 'But he hasn’t. He’s become more emboldened and threatening and they are running from him just as they always have.'”

The power of doing nothing is in Reid's hands. So is knowledge that he has very powerful political tool in this election year: keeping Republicans in the position of standing in the way of any movement on these issues because they have to protect the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The dialectics of sequestration are fascinating (15+ / 0-)

    Anywhere else and we'd call a package of across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts hopelessly regressive and reactionary.  But in America circa 2012 it's progressive, because the most likely scenario in the absence of sequestration would be selective tax hikes on the poor, and selective spending cuts that leave Defense untouched.  

    Romney '12: Ron Paul, without the freedom!

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:57:10 AM PDT

  •  Not only do the Dems have to do nothing to win (16+ / 0-)

    But the majority of the public agrees with the Democratic positions.

    If not for the history of Dems famously caving to the GOP at every opportunity, I would say we were in a no-lose situation here.  Let's hope they don't find a way to lose anyway.

    "Safety and security are the result of collective consensus. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear." - Nelson Mandela. Donate to TREE Climbers

    by TX Freethinker on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:09:03 AM PDT

  •  For Reid, doing nothing should be easy (13+ / 0-)

    Just stop trying to be reasonable with unreasonable people.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:13:24 AM PDT

    •  remember when reid choked someone for bribing him? (0+ / 0-)

      was a long ass time ago, But seriously. looks like that guy is back.

      http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

      by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:23:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I keep thinking... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timbuk3, JeffW, diggerspop, daeros, Matt Z, tb mare

    that the GOP can't see past their next recess.  I know they don't care about the economy but you would think they would care about losing all of these fights in an election year.

  •  I believe that he can suceed in doing nothing. (6+ / 0-)
  •  Yes Harry, and keep on saying that the Tea Party (11+ / 0-)

    is calling the shots for the GOP! I love that!
    Don't stop reminding the American people of the idiocy of the tea party, and how they control the GOP leadership right now!!!

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:25:34 AM PDT

  •  Doing nothing will be a disaster! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Williston Barrett

    10's of thousands of government employees will lose their jobs.  Many will lose their homes, and some, their families.

    We see what is happening to Greece with Austerity, well this will be Austerity on steroids at the time we need big stimulus.  This is going to have huge consequences on the worlds economy.

    This will be very much like last year, and in the end, the economy will be hurt slightly, and they'll just extend the deadline so we can do it all over again in another year.

    •  While I agree with your point about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99, daeros, cybersaur

      horrendous consequences for the world, we are only discussing keeping the budget level. Greece has so far cut its budget by 34% so, anyway you cut it, austerity there is infinitely worse.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:54:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  While doing nothing is a disaster... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros, mchestnutjr

      ...caving to the Republicans would be a bigger disaster.

      Why?  Because what they want is defense spending and further tax cuts for the wealthy -- all offset by further gutting of the rest of the government.  The result, economically, would be even worse than allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and the sequestration to take effect.

      The ideal outcome is to force Republicans to accept dollar for dollar increases in taxes on the wealthy for any defense spending above the sequestration level.  

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:57:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously too. (0+ / 0-)

        if we cave to them w hat they'll do is cut spending on even POORER people who are far more likely to SPEND the money.while this is bad for the economy, the alternative is worse. People on Department of defense contracts likely make enough that they can save. poor people can't save.

        http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

        by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros, tb mare

      Every Republican in the House and the Senate's phones are ringing off the hook from greedy Defense Contractors threatening a primary challenger. Good! The cuts must take place.

      I am encouraged by the fact that Harry Reid has finally grown a pair.  

      •  ah that will be perfect. (0+ / 0-)

        an even more extreme challenger that will make it easier to win.

        http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

        by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:28:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Harry Reid is being very (7+ / 0-)

    tough in these negotiations. This is the way he works. He's going to be heroic right up to the moment that he totally caves.

  •  Doing nothing would be the best thing. The (10+ / 0-)

    new Congress can take up a middle class tax cut, the doc fix, and modifications to sequestration if there are the votes. The debt limit can also be rolled in but the playing field will be different and more favorable for Democrats.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:02:34 PM PDT

  •  It's about time. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros, tb mare

    people won't remember how compromising you were. They will remember what you accomplished.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Thu May 24, 2012 at 04:06:37 PM PDT

  •  Who are you and what did you do with Harry Reid? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros, tb mare

    The REAL Harry Reid, the spineless worm we've been putting up with for all these years?

    Mitt Romney/Pee-Wee Herman 2012 - "I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was" / "I meant to do that!"

    by Fordmandalay on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:18:49 PM PDT

    •  Apparently, someone transplanted (5+ / 0-)

      Nancy Pelosi's brain into Harry Reid.

      Harry's standing tough on Democratic policy, while Nancy is pushing Simpson/Bowles and offering to give up nearly half the anticipated revenues from the tax cut expiration by raising the bar to $1,000,000.

      Imagine what could be accomplished if they both stood up to the Republicans at the same time.

      The perfect is NOT the enemy of the good. The perfect is the course you advocate in order to ARRIVE at the good. When you BEGIN the journey on the path of merely "good," inevitably you wind up at meh.

      by WisePiper on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:25:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  love your comment and sig. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, WisePiper

        http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

        by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:22:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  For once (17+ / 0-)

    The Democrats sitting on their hands and doing diddly seems like a great idea. Yes, I know what the CBO said, and you can make your case about 'austerity' this and that.

    But at this point in the game, if the reason all these things happen is because Republicans are 100% unwilling to raise one red cent of revenue in the form of raised taxes on the wealthy, then I say let's do nothing.

    Hopefully with a new, less-batshit-insane-Congress come 2013, and Barack Obama on Term 2, real leaders can grab that mop again and clean up the shit the Republicans have dumped on the floor.

    This strategy seems to portend the worst political consequences for Republicans. Fuckin' right!

    Come on Harry, make the Weeper of the House blubber at your feet!

    •  Let the Bush tax cuts expire (9+ / 0-)

      ...then put the GOP in the position of opposing tax cuts on incomes below $250K.

      It's really that simple.

      "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

      by Timbuk3 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:56:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet the Dems couldn't just let the Bush Tax Cuts (0+ / 0-)

        expire when they had huge majorities in both.the House and Senate in January of 2011.  What does that tell us, especially when Reid was Majority Leader.back them too?

        Btw, didn't Reid talk up the Public Option all the time, right up until he prevented a vote on it during reconciliation?  I'm just saying.

        •  We haven't had 60 in the Senate (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          diggerspop, daeros, Timbuk3

          since February 4, 2010.  And 60 is what it takes to get past a filibuster.

          The Rethugs held the tax cuts hostage in order to get the wealthy theirs.

          You can make the case that Democrats should have let all of the tax cuts go, but most of us don't think that was politically viable at the time.

          •  and it really is that stark, only even worse. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timbuk3

            because with blue dog senators they can stab you in the back. I remember who killed the public option for Real. Blanche... if it hadn't been for her stupid shit we could of stomped them into the dirt. I will not forgive her nor forget her. Democratic solidarity is NOT on point. If we REALLY wanted to change shit then we need at least 60 Radical Lefitist progressives that are willing to do ANYTHING including stir us into fiscal armageddon to get reform thru (from the republicans: no compromise) or a couple seats beyond 60. It's sad.

            http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

            by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:33:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  and things are differemt now? Nope! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Remember Braveheart? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    Hold....hold....hold....hold...NOW!
    Don't unleash too early. Patience is prudence. There's an exact right time to go on the offensive.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:23:12 PM PDT

  •  He can seem principled doing nothing (4+ / 0-)

    vs the usual kind of doing nothing.

  •  Boehner wrote a list of demands but has lousy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    penpersonship

    Doctor Mitt Romney Brain Sturgeon-The Operation was a success but the patient died, where's my fee?

    by JML9999 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:29:58 PM PDT

  •  seen this movie before . . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    Already know how it ends.

  •  This is part of the long game (6+ / 0-)

    This is why those cuts were baked into the deal last time around. I'm not sure how much influence the President had on that deal, but he seems to be able to wait until the Republicans get all wild and blustery about something, then calmly salvage the situation. This is chess, not checkers.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:39:14 PM PDT

  •  Wonderful stuff (7+ / 0-)

    That was always the Rs' trump card: they were opposed to everything govt, so they always won just by being happy to do nothing.

    The only govt thing they ever wanted was defense spending, and thanks to Bush's wars, Dems were never bold enough to vote against defense spending.

    Hence, even with the presidency and majorities, the Rs had the upper hand, because nothing was fine with them.

    The sequester may just be turning out to be a brilliant move, after all.  As the diary says, for the first time, the Rs are going to be the ones wanting something to get passed.

    Of course, the last time we were at a similar juncture, the Ds blinked over middle class tax cuts and unemployment ins.  But ya know.  The O first term is in the history books.  There's little more the Rs can do to sabotage the economy in time for the 2012 election.

    Oh god, I hope it's so.

  •  This is a fantastic opportunity (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timbuk3, JeffW, daeros, Matt Z, cybersaur

    ...for President Obama to run on a tax cut for the middle and lower-middle classes -- after he is re-elected.

    A nice clean uncontaminated, uncorrupt new bill.


    According to the Tea Party, there are three kinds of Conservatives: "Those who can do math and those who can't."

    by Pluto on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:49:52 PM PDT

    •  Chances are, however, Our Defense Overlords (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros, tb mare

      ,,,will probably smack the Republicans upside the head and force them to trade tax hikes on high-earners for keeping the defense cash-cow pumping "freedumbs" dollars offshore -- that we never see again.


      According to the Tea Party, there are three kinds of Conservatives: "Those who can do math and those who can't."

      by Pluto on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:55:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  honestly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto

        I would consider that a victory. not as potent of one, but still.

        http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

        by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:41:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone enlighten me? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros
    ... the expiration of the Bush tax cuts; the expiration of unemployment benefits, and the payroll tax cuts. In each of these, Democrats have the option of just not acting.
    My reading is that if Dems don't act, the Bush tax cuts expire...  in that event, does that mean that the "expiration of unemployment benefits" also goes away?  IOW, that unemployment benefits extensions are restored to where they previously were, I believe 99 weeks instead of the currently agreed upon 73 weeks?

    I have a rather personal interest in knowing...

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:52:28 PM PDT

    •  No, what happens is that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros, tb mare

      ...unemployment benefits would revert to the "standard" 26 weeks.  In other words, a very bad outcome, indeed.

      Unfortunately, I see no politically possible outcome that will result in the restoration of 99 weeks (or more) of benefits.  And this game of chicken that Harry Reid is playing with the Republicans is probably the best way to get an extension by holding defense spending hostage.

      Considering that I work in defense, I'm not thrilled by the thought -- but it just doesn't really seem that there is any other choice.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Thu May 24, 2012 at 08:01:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Boehner, enough with the posturing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Panbanisha, daeros, tb mare

    Cut a deal already and move on. We'll throw in 20 free tanning sessions, a case of single malt and a round of golf with Tiger Woods at St. Andrews. Kay?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:52:48 PM PDT

  •  Do They Want To Cut Spending Or Not? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    Time to put up, or SHUT THE F*%$ UP!!!

  •  Finally, Congress is in a perfect position. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, daeros, cybersaur

    They have to do nothing and we get the sequestration cuts and the end of the Bush Tax Cuts.

    And we have the perfect Congress for doing nothing.  It is about all they are good at.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Thu May 24, 2012 at 07:59:33 PM PDT

    •  personally I want the tax cuts to end (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reddog1, captainlaser

      even if it results in higher middle class taxes. I WAS middle class and those tax cuts got me a couple extra gallons of milk a month. fuck it. Even at 82k a year they did not mean shit.

      http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

      by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:43:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo

    harry does what he does best roll over at he last minute but sound good until then. Voting Green

    •  Hey, wait: before you go Green, let the R's frag (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros

      I think that the Rethug Party is on the cusp of going nova and fragment into it's poor, sorry-assed, judgmental parts, politically.  

      They're on their Last Hurrah, this cycle.  After November, they're going to split into their Big Capital Wall Street financier, their mid-level Manufacture small-donor-base, and their Calvanistic Moral Church Ladies phonebank constituent parts, probably not to be joined back together for near-a-generation, again.

      Frankly, I think we need to keep our Post-McGovern-reconstitued-Democratic-Party coalition together for just a couple of more years.

      That way, we win.

      Didn't you learn anything in 1972? (Not to say it wasn't worth it... .)

      •  (... and by "worth it," I mean...) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indie17, daeros

        Now even the Republicans have to explain themselves viz equal opportunity for all races and religions, the environment, radiation-energy, women's rights in the workplace and over their own bodies, and have to acknowledge a racial minority voting constituency -- all that culminated in 1972, and set the frame for America for even Reagan's Administration.  

        Unfortunately, we didn't lock in the rejection of Imperialist-War-Making as an American Ideal, nor the curtailing of civil liberties and protected speech and association as a part of that, and in that way, we fell short of the Vietnam War protest's goal.  But we did what we could.
        And, now, after a generation- or more's revanche, I think we're ready to re-take the narrative.

        I'm glad I'm still alive to help.

  •  Obama surrendering to the terrorists...again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, daeros

    Looking forward to hear the GOP whine about how these miniscule defense cuts will invite a new round of terrorist attacks.
    Obama and the Dems need to stand firm on BOTH the bush tax cuts expiration, and the sequestration, unless the 1% get their taxes raised. This is going to be fun to watch.

  •  Last time Reid talked tough, passed Bush tax cuts. (0+ / 0-)

    So it is definitely fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you.  Fool me three times, the hell with you come November.

    By failing to stand tall vs. GOP a year ago, Reid and Obama have put themselves in a corner.  Boehner can hold up the debt ceiling and shutdown the government and knock off an already weak economy.

    The weak economy is Obama's biggest weakness. It's why he gave the last time and now, even closer to the election, he will likely give in again saying he'll fix it after he's re-elected.

  •  Why doesn't the Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    actually like DO something? Like propose a budget? Entitlement protection? Tax reform? Something?  What exactly HAS Reid's Senate done? Oh yeah, this.

    •  The budget is the reponsibility of the House (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daeros

      The Senate or the President can write one, but the budget has to pass out of the House first, that's the law. They can pass all or part of Senate or President's budget, but they've got to throw the ball first.
      You know the ball they throw is gonna stink. This is precisely why the lines were drawn last year.

      Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

      by Icicle68 on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's sort of my point (0+ / 0-)

        The House HAS written a budget (s). The Senate hasn't acted on one in years. As for any other productive measure out of the Senate I am unaware. They COULD be promoting positive alternatives rather being accomplices to "nothing".

        •  The Senate, both parties, does that often (0+ / 0-)
          But neither party can claim superiority on budget resolutions.

           Senate Democrats didn’t pass a fiscal 2011 budget because "Republicans were threatening to hijack the budget process and waste the American people’s time with pointless political votes," a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told PolitiFact Florida. "Faced with this obstruction, we decided it would be a more productive use of the American people’s time to move on and address other issues critical to middle-class families."

           Our Florida colleagues also foundthat since 1983, the House and Senate have failed to pass a joint budget bill on four occasions.

           For fiscal year 2003, the Senate, under Democratic control in 2002, failed to pass a budget resolution of any kind. On three other occasions (fiscal years 1999, 2005 and 2007), the House and Senate failed to reconcile their different bills and pass a compromise measure. In these latter three cases, the Republicans were in the majority in both chambers of Congress.

          I don't have a law degree, but I'm pretty sure that the Senate's rules just plain make it easier for them to wait for the house to act first, which, as I said, the House is required to do.
          The past few decades it seems one party or the other is just trying to gum up the works.

          Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

          by Icicle68 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 12:54:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The spin from Reid (0+ / 0-)

            is that of course. But my point is... the House HAS sent a budget in and the Senate has not acted on it. Of course the budget sent is bad but the Senate's duty is to govern. Ot would be a great opportunity to actually lay out, in stark relief,  different priorities to the American people. Instead we get platitudes. And I'd love to know what they have done to  "...address other issues critical to middle-class families."

            •  Agreed! (0+ / 0-)

              I thought it was a bit comical though, too, learning that the Rs don't even want to compromise with themselves.

              On three other occasions (fiscal years 1999, 2005 and 2007), the House and Senate failed to reconcile their different bills and pass a compromise measure. In these latter three cases, the Republicans were in the majority in both chambers of Congress.

              Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

              by Icicle68 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 01:18:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  yeah i pretty much want mandated services (0+ / 0-)

      written into the constitution...heh.

      http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

      by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:46:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I, for one, am amazed that we're still behind Reid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slouchsock

    F'chrissakes, the way the man bungled and deep-throat-blurbled Republicans and Blue Dogs through the Heath Care Reform fiasco, and lost the House to the Rethugs in THAT bargain; and then went on to indicate he didn't want to change the Senate's filibuster rule before the election last cycle, only to come around to discover that he was wrong all along, now -- all that shoulda gotten Harry Reid out of the way of Obama's agenda back in 2010-11. And an energetic Progressive wing in the Senate woulda done it, had they heard the outrage from out here in the hinterlands.

    And yet we're still saddled with the addled Henry Reid.

    Woe, oh woe, for my silly-accommodationist-"enabler" Party.

  •  To do nothing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros, cybersaur

    Finally, something ol' Harry might manage.

  •  I'm against budgeting by initiative. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros

    It's come to the point in California that our State government is absolutely paralyzed and dysfunctional, and it's because so much of our State budget has been shunted off to the initiative process for committed funding and tax reductions, and Super-Majority requirements for raising revenue, and all the money and industry and ideological faction manipulation of our initiative process that our elected representatives can not do their job, or have the political courage to do their job as long as they can defer to an initiative on a ballot -- and enough is enough!

    It doesn't matter how well crafted nor worthy a funding commitment that appears on my ballot is, I will not hamstring representative government from doing its job any longer.

    I'm gonna vote "NO!" on any mandated spending by initiative until my elected legislature can take its responsibility back -- is FORCED TO TAKE ITS RESPONSIBILITY BACK -- and govern, dammit.

    (If you want to know what the Eric Cantor/Tea Party vision for our Federal Government is, revenue and spending-wise, take a look at California.  "Paralysis" is their agenda.)
  •  did someone open a container of ownage (0+ / 0-)

    under hair reid or something? seriously, another great move.

    http://www.actblue.com/page/accountabilitynow If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals! up yours!

    by daeros on Fri May 25, 2012 at 02:18:36 AM PDT

  •  There is no power in inaction (0+ / 0-)

    The Dems are going to fold again on this one.

    No, it's not because of some imagined lack of backbone.  Our side does tend to do all the folding and blinking lately in these intra-governmental hostage crises, but that's because these events are mook wars, and the other side will always win a mook war if they're up against beings sentient at a higher level than the reptile brains they carry around.

    We lost that last mook war over the debt ceiling, and this sequestration deal was the surrender document.  It wasn't a compromise, it was a capitulation.  It did not leave our side with any leverage at all at the point, which we are now approaching, when it had to be implemented; because it does not, any more than the debt ceiling crunch, leave us any power in inaction, any ability to credibly threaten a veto by withholding our assent.

    This is because the sequestration cannot go into effect without further implementing legislation that specifies what spending obligations are being rescinded.  "20% across-the-board cuts" is just an empty phrase.  The only way to remove the legal obligations created by the laws that obligated the money that is to be sequestered would be to pass new law specifying exactly what spending is now to be no longer obligated.

    As the trigger date approaches, pressure will grow to pass spending cuts into law.  Spending cuts will have to be passed, and just letting the trigger go off will not be an option, because the trigger cannot be implemented by the administration.  The WH will pressure House and Senate Dems to agree to whatever spending cut deal it can get from the Rs, because otherwise it will be forced to the intolerable choice between defying the sequestration deal law, or defying all the laws that obligated the money that is supposed to be sequestered.

    We've been here before, only before the ground was more favorable to the only good way out of this mess, for our side to just ignore the threat to the hostage.  The debt ceiling law provided the Rs the exact same sort of leverage, because letting it be exceeded would have forced the same dilemma on the administration -- defy the ceiling law or defy all the other laws obligating spending.   The only way out of this dilemma would have been for the administration to announce that in this apparent contradiciton among its legal obligations to dispense money, it had to choose to interpret the ceiling law as intended to apply only internally, as a means of forcing Congress to address the debt, and not as rescinding the laws obligating spending.  

    That wouldn't have been easy, but it would have been doable.  I'm not sure it would be doable, and it certainly would be much harder, for the administration to make a similar argument when and if the sequestration trigger day is reached.  This administration itself helped craft this turkey of a law, which clearly purported to create a legal requirement for "20% across-the-board cuts" if triggered.  It can't very well now make the claim that such language is in irreconcilable contradiction to other law without owning up to having been in on a fraud when it agreed to the budget deal that created this sequestration crisis.

    But while it can't now claim that the sequestration law has to be set aside and cannot be implemented, the administratioin also can't actually implement it.  Obligating public money is clearly a sole legislative prerogative under the Constitution, and Congress itself cannot delegate the power to rescind such obligations to the administration.  But these "20% across-the-board cuts" would require thousands of individual acts of just that, deciding what legal obligations to spend will be be met and which won't.  The administration can't do that, practically speaking, because even trying to do that will draw well-founded lawsuits from well-funded plaintiffs disputing the administration's arbitrary choices.

    Because the administration will not have any viable course of action if the sequestration is triggered, it cannot allow the sequestration to be triggered.  Everyone knows that.  The WH will have no choice at all but to pressure Ds to reach some budget deal embodied in some actually enforceable law.  This situation will give the Rs enormous leverage to demand their preferred content on what gets cut and what doesn't in this budget deal, because there is no downside for the Rs to having the trigger go off.  No D inaction can counter that pressure, because our side will need -- not want, not like to have, but need -- new law to be written to prevent the trigger going off.  

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:52:28 AM PDT

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