As we’ve been reporting for a few weeks, now that Senate Dems have passed a budget, Republicans have suddenly lost their enthusiasm for hallowed official processes and are resisting Democratic efforts to return to “regular order” and debate the differences between the House and Senate budgets in an at least somewhat transparent way. Even by Capitol Hill standards it’s rare for parties to reveal this kind of procedural hypocrisy so abruptly.
There are a few reasons for that. Part of it is just that the GOP budget is a political loser and Republicans don’t want to give Dems the opportunity to relitigate damaging election year debates over how much the rich should pay in taxes, what should happen to Medicare and so on. Republicans are also seemingly trying to slow walk the budget process so that it lines up with the much harder deadline of increasing the debt limit.
Which brings us to the Senate floor Monday.Early in the day Harry Reid tried, once again, to pursue “regular order” and appoint Senate negotiators to iron out major budget differences with reluctant House Republicans in a conference committee. That request went unaddressed for hours, until near close of business when Ted Cruz showed up to register an official objection. More precisely he said he’d be fine with going to conference, so long as Dems agreed in advance to make it make it effectively impossible to use the budget process to increase either taxes or the debt limit.
Like saying ‘surrender now, then we’ll be happy to fight.’
Reid of course laughed the idea off as “ridiculous.” He actually called Cruz a bully.
But more on that later.
The best part actually came at the end of the exchange when a visibly annoyed Cruz tried to stick up for himself, in contravention of the rules of Senate debate, and Reid shut him down.