The process for budget/tax negotiations was to have been between the House of Representatives and United States Senate. The house leader on the budget, Congressman Paul Ryan, was to have dealt with his budget counterpart, Senator Patty Murray. In fact as far back as March when the Senate passed a budget there was talk about the need for a conference committee between these two chambers.
My civics teacher, Mr. Winn at Tri-County High School in Plainfield, taught me that both chambers name members of a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two versions of the budget. But in April Ryan said there would be no conference committee as the two sides were too far apart. The idea of being forced to have a deal before talking is frankly absurd, even to those of us who follow politics very closely.
You might recall some of the speeches at the 2012 GOP convention (yes, I watched it) where the theme of ‘regular order’ was chanted. In other words a desire to have the budget process return to how if was when the vast majority of readers to this blog were growing up and learning civics. But when it came time to conduct business in that fashion Ryan said no to a conference committee. You may recall earlier this year when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to appoint members of a budget conference committee only to have Senate Republicans refuse to allow it. Over and over that scenario played out when trying to name members to the committee.
The reason the GOP does not want to go to conference committee is that they will need to compromise. That means compromising on revenue enhancements. They are fearful of the very regular order that they thought they could use in the 2012 election. Might I add this was one of the few things the GOP said in 2012 I actually agreed with. Regular order is wise and sound and needs again to be used. That has always been my position, and I think anyone who works in government, or knows about government will agree that process matters.
But after failing to use regular order conservatives now are using a federal government shutdown as the vehicle to get their way with budget matters. And some conservatives are thinking the president should pay ransom to the GOP who failed to even name budget conferees!