Congressional budget

A Congress Going in Political Circles

Congressional Republicans have sniped that President Obama is still on the campaign trail after winning re-election last fall. But they are staging their own political theater on the House and Senate floors in offering up budgets that state their principles, but will never be enacted.

Democrats, of course, are doing the same thing, only it takes a lot longer to produce a non-result in the Senate. The GOP-controlled House, after slapping down a Democratic-principle budget, passed its Republican-principle budget and left town. The Senate is still at it, doing the same thing with the same outcome. Eventually it will leave town, too.

All the budget talk is really script-writing for the 2014 congressional elections. Democrats talk about the need to invest to grow the economy. Republicans say reduced spending and a balanced budget will foster economic growth.

Yet some observers take heart that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is the size of a penlight. Buried in all the budget principles of both parties is procedural language that will allow the Senate eventually to vote on a compromise budget without being held hostage to filibuster threats. This wouldn't hearten most people, but in Washington, DC these day's this is what passes for a hopeful sign. After all, in previous years Senate Democrats didn't even bother to produce a budget.