Federal Budget

Ryan denies selling out Senate Republicans

Featured image The office of Rep. Paul Ryan has denied the report by NRO’s Jonathan Strong that the budget deal Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray limits the ability of Republican Senators to block tax increases. I linked to Strong’s report last night and criticized the deal on that basis. You can read here about Ryan’s pushback and the pushback to that pushback from Strong’s sources. To me it seems clear that »

Boehner’s weak attack on Conservative “outside” groups

Featured image Speaker Boehner has blasted conservative outside groups for their opposition to the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Presumably, his attack is aimed at such groups as Heritage Action, Freedom Works, and the Club for Growth. Boehner claims that such groups “have lost all credibility.” Asked whether these groups should stand down, the Speaker responded, “I don’t care what they do.” The House leadership has also suggested that the outside groups are fighting »

Paul Ryan then and now

Featured image In 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a bold plan to reform Medicare. His plan had no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less being signed into law by President Obama. But, as one of Ryan’s aides told me, the Congressman felt that the current entitlement system is a time bomb waiting to explode and bring down America. Thus, he perceived a duty to propose legislation that would fix »

Paul Ryan sells out Senate Republicans

Featured image Did Paul Ryan sell out conservatives by agreeing to a compromise budget deal with ultra-liberal Patty Murray? I wouldn’t go that far. In my view, reasonable conservatives can disagree on the overall merit of the deal. I tend to agree with »

Today’s Budget Agreement: Good Politics, Maybe, But Not Good Policy [Updated]

Featured image The current continuing resolution on federal spending expires in January, and Paul Ryan (on behalf of the Republican House) has been negotiating with Patty Murray (on behalf of the Democratic Senate) for an agreement to set spending levels for the remainder of FY 2014. It is not hard to understand the political considerations that drive House Republicans: the Democrats have been threatening to shut down the government again, as a »

Say It Ain’t So, Paul!

Featured image We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while about the negotiations between Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Paul Ryan on next year’s spending. The Democrats hate the sequester, which was flawed (mainly because the spending constraints fall too heavily on the military) but nevertheless was one of the signal Republican achievements of recent years. The sequester represents the only perceptible check on the growth of federal spending »

Shutdown theater: How is it playing?

Featured image Over the past week we have witnessed the impressive shutdown theater engineered by the Obama administration. By shutdown theater I am referring to the closing or Barrycading of such landmarks as the WWII memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. What is to be learned? This is political hardball, intended to induce unconditional surrender in the current and prospective budget/debt showdowns. Obama asserts a maximalist position »

Government Shutdown Includes Brains, Apparently

Featured image Wolf Blitzer is one of the less annoying newsreaders on CNN (I know, that’s like being distinguished as the tallest building in Wichita*), but he proves himself a Connoisseur of the Obvious with his acknowledgement that shutting down the Obamacare websites for the weekend is “an embarrassment” for the administration: “An embarrassment for the administration,” Blitzer stated. “Hopefully, they’ll get all those glitches out of the way by Monday, if »

How the Dems Spin Their Own Shutdown Blunders For Money

Featured image On the fourth day of the partial government shutdown, things are getting tense in Washington. The Democrats were confident a shutdown would strengthen their political position, and it probably will; but they have overplayed their hand to the point where millions of Americans can see that the administration is deliberately trying to inconvenience the public in hopes of achieving political gain. That realization is making the Dems testy. So today »

More Madison on the Budget Fight

Featured image A couple days ago I brought to our attention James Madison’s thoughts on representative deliberation from Federalist #37, and why he wouldn’t be surprised at all about the current standoff in Congress. There’s another reflection of Madison that we should take on board as we watch the scene, but first a brief set up: Harold Pease argues that because all tax bills must originate in the House, per Article I, »

Another Grand Bargain? Let’s Hope Not

Featured image As Paul noted last night, the word in Washington is that John Boehner now hopes to escape from the current fiscal stalemate via a “grand bargain” that will include raising the debt ceiling in conjunction with some sort of entitlement and tax reform. I have written many times that I oppose fiscal grand bargains, especially when they are crafted in secrecy, in the middle of the night and in an »

Man the Barry-cades!

Featured image John has already noted here the extreme efforts the Obama Administration is taking to inconvenience the public by closing even the privately-operated Claude Moore Farm in suburban Virginia.  What about Mount Vernon?  Mount Vernon has long been privately owned and operated, and moreover, was always the one local attraction open to tourists on federal holidays.  But because Mount Vernon abuts the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Obama Administration is trying »

The WWII Memorial: More Guards Than At Benghazi

Featured image That’s right: the Obama administration dispatched more security guards to prevent World War II veterans from visiting the wide-open WWII memorial on the Mall than it stationed in Benghazi, notwithstanding the American Ambassador’s pleas for better security. Paul Bedard has the story: The National Park Service is sending so many officials out to shut down federal parks that it might have to suspend furloughs if the government closure continues. Two »

Obama to Veterans: Get Out Of My Park!

Featured image President Obama’s barricading of the World War II memorial on the Mall, to keep out veterans who had long planned visits to the memorial, was one of the dumbest PR moves of all time. This was seen on Lucianne earlier today: The image was accompanied by this comment: WW II VETS: Normandy was also closed when we got there!!! The conventional wisdom is that Republicans are better at policy, and »

Harry Reid, the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Featured image I have often wondered about Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi: is it possible that the other Democrats in Congress are even dumber? This seems inconceivable, yet they elect Reid and Pelosi to be their leaders. Today Reid helped out the Republicans again. What precipitated Reid’s breakdown was that the House Republicans have taken my advice (and that of many others, of course) and are now enacting a series of bills »

Democrats Pay Union Members to Protest World War II Vets

Featured image It appears that the Obama administration is violating the First Rule of Holes. Yesterday the administration looked awful when it “closed” and barricaded the World War II memorial on the Mall. The memorial is, by its nature, open. There is nothing to close. And the administration knows that every day, tour groups consisting of WWII vets, now mostly in their late 80s or early 90s, come to Washington to visit »

James Madison on the Budget Impasse

Featured image It’s a favorite parlor game: what would the Founders think of our current government, and in particular, the current budget showdown.  Jacob Heilbrunn, in typical liberal derision of the institutions of limited self-government, thinks we should abolish Congress. More likely, James Madison would not be at all surprised at what is going on.  As he wrote in Federalist #37: “It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures »