federal budget

Either Significant or Not

Evangelist Franklin Graham speaks before the Festival of Hope at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Frank Couch)

This is interesting …

Evangelist Franklin Graham announced Monday that he left the Republican Party and is now an independent over the GOP’s failure to defund Planned Parenthood in last week’s omnibus spending bill.

(Koplowitz)

… I think. Maybe. Possibly.

Still, though: And?

You know. Like―What now?

Oh, right. Go on tour.

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Image note: Evangelist Franklin Graham speaks before the Festival of Hope at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Frank Couch)

Graham, Franklin. “Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week”. Facebook. 21 December 2015.

Koplowitz, Howard. “Franklin Graham quits GOP over not defunding Planned Parenthood; ‘I have no hope in the Republican Party'”. AL.com. 22 December 2015.

About What We Expect from Congress

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, 10 December 2015.  (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Well, you know. They tried.

Like we noted last week, it’s Congress.

The failure of Congress to strike a budget deal Monday night to avert a government shutdown means House and Senate lawmakers will have to pass another short-term continuing resolution―even though they approved one last week.

(Fuller)

Show of hands: Who’s surprised?

Anybody? Anybody?

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Image note: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI01CD) meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, 10 December 2015. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Fuller, Matt. “Congress Needs Another Stopgap Spending Measure To Avoid Shutdown”. The Huffington Post. 14 December 2015.

Becoming a Ritual

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio responds to reporters about the impasse over passing the Homeland Security budget because of Republican efforts to block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House voted last month to end Homeland Security funding on Saturday unless Obama reverses his order to protect millions of immigrants from possible deportation. After Democratic filibusters blocked the bill in the Senate, the chaber's Republican leaders agreed this week to offer a "clean" funding measure, with no immigration strings attached. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Is familiarity a bad thing?

The pieces are now in place for a replay of the GOP’s 2013 shutdown. Cruz is marshaling his House forces; Boehner and his leadership team have no idea how to move forward; and far-right lawmakers have a simple-but-unobtainable goal. The question is whether this time, we should expect a different result.

The beleaguered Speaker told reporters this morning, “The goal here is not to shut down the government. The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts.”

As a substantive matter, this is obviously nonsense – “selling baby parts” is illegal, and that’s not at all what Planned Parenthood has done – but as a political matter, is also non-constructive nonsense. If Boehner is serious about averting another GOP-imposed crisis, he probably ought to start being a little more responsible.

Of course, the more responsibly he behaves, the more likely it is the extremists in his conference will try to oust him – so Boehner’s in an unenviable spot.

(Benen)

There was some chatter last month, while Congress was away, in which pundits and analysts wondered whether the GOP would attempt a shutdown. And now that we arrive at this chapter, it seems almost a foolish question: Of course they are.

So here’s the thing: With less than a fortnight’s scheduled legislative through the month of September, Congress has a papal visit slated, as well as routine legislation such as a highway bill and the Export-Import Bank reauthorization that the Republican leadership just can’t seem to accomplish, and the Iran deal, at least, which the House has just broken into three parts in order to do something ostensibly more useful than just making inevitability that much more complicated.

Remember this, as we endure the ascending electoral cycle: When Republicans complain that government just doesn’t work, it would behoove us to check again to make certain it isn’t their own damn fault.

And the results, you know, are starting to look a little too consistent.

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Benen, Steve. “As shutdown deadline draws closer, GOP leaders seem lost”. msnbc. 10 September 2015.

Fair Warning

Mitch McConnell

Heads up, the sky is falling!

Well, okay, no, actually it’s not. To the other, soon enough there will be plenty trying to convince you that it is. Or, as we learn from Annika McGinnis and David Lawder:

U.S. lawmakers expected that a promising budget deal reached after a government shutdown last year would herald a new normal for passing annual spending bills, moving Congress away from the crisis-driven approach and resulting economic jitters of recent years.

But the spending bills have been derailed in the Senate by election-year politics and a war over Republican amendments that range from thwarting curbs on power-plant carbon emissions to restoring potatoes to a government nutrition assistance program.

With a new fiscal year looming on Oct. 1, a stopgap funding measure of the type that has kept the federal government afloat in fits and starts for five years looks increasingly likely, along with the risk of another government shutdown.

Congress starts a five-week recess on Aug. 1 and has about 10 work days in September before lawmakers break for a month of campaigning for November congressional elections.

“Prospects don’t look good at the moment” for the 12 spending bills, said Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This is an election year and this is tough politics.”

We have been warned, let there be no question about that. So when the yelling begins in September, the appropriate question will be, “Why are you yelling?” And should anyone be so foolish as to ask why, we need only point them to Sen. Shelby (R-AL): “This is an election year and this is tough politics.”

So it goes, even if it’s something more to the rest of us.

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McGinniss, Annika and David Lawder. “Hope fades in Congress for drama-free funding of U.S. agencies”. Reuters. 13 July 2014.