UnNews:Government shutdown averted
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10 April 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American politicians negotiated an eleventh-hour budget agreement for the 2011 fiscal year that is mostly over. Both sides lied and talked of crisis to gain sway; and both said afterwards that the agreement means that American government has changed, somehow.
The agreement cuts spending in the current-year budget by about 15% of the amount borrowed in March alone. Democrats were holding out to cut only 13%, but Republicans must go home and explain to their backers in the Tea Party movement why they didn't zero out the budget entirely. However, CNBC's Larry Kudlow called the budget "revolutionary," when the amounts are annualized, multiplied by fifty years, and compared against the small "discretionary" sliver of the budget that Republicans worked on.
Republicans tirelessly weaved "moral issues" into the debate. It already being illegal for federal funds to pay for abortion, the GOP wanted language cutting funds for curettes, suction devices, and stirrups as well. Senate President Harry Reid called that an attack on women's health and Republicans returned to their area of expertise, surrender. They likewise dropped attempts to defund President Obama's health care reform and the EPA's move to regulate carbon dioxide. But they held out for and got two key sections that dictate policy to the District of Columbia.
Mr. Obama scolded both sides to "quit playing games," during a cameo appearance in the White House that he fit in between a pick-up game of favelas (soccer) with children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and an all-day golf outing with Al Sharpton.
Republicans offered a one-week temporary spending bill. It would have paid for military salaries for the entire year. Though the bill was useful in letting both sides accuse the other of hating soldiers, it would have removed Friday's deadline and the need for an all-or-nothing solution, probably involving another 2500-page bill no one will read, and both parties were relieved to ditch the idea.
The ultimate agreement, of course, remains too complicated for anyone to read, and will not come to a vote until the middle of next week, assuming clerks of both parties sabotage it in equal measures. Then leadership will, again, twist arms for everyone to vote for a bill that no one is happy with, and proclaim that government works, because it has changed. And change is, after all, what Americans keep voting for.
- Alan Fram "Long meetings, dashed hopes--but finally a deal." Associated Press, April 10, 2011