House Passes Budget Pact and Military Abuse Protections, but Not Farm Bill

Lawmakers approved the bipartisan budget bill and stronger Pentagon protections for sexual assault victims, but could pass only a one-month extension of the current law involving the farm bill.

Comments: 143

  1. Thank the Heavens for Patty & Paul! The nation itself needs, rather badly, to move forward. We will *all* benefit from a dose of that smelly medicine, old-fashioned compromise.

  2. Of course they agreed. They agreed they should spend more money. That's one thing they always agree on.

    And Paul Ryan shouldn't even think about running for President. That ship has sailed.

  3. Actually, I think Paul Ryan just re-entered the race. Even though I don't like his economic policies or social philosophy, he just detached himself from the crazies and got himself a lot of independent votes. Not mine, however. I will work to reattach him to Ayn Rand.

  4. I agree with you, but for totally different reasons.

  5. Oh, by the way, something about the 1.3 million of us receiving Extended Unemployment Compensation. Congress to Jobless: Drop Dead.

  6. GOP's congress that shutdown the government costs the U.S economy $24 billion dollars, which is equal to cost of one year unemployment benefit extension.

    Please call up your congress, and let them know about this.

  7. It took six years, but the House actually showed bipartisanship. 332 Congressman voted for the Budget Bill. According to CSPAN, more Republicans than Democrats voted fro the bill. Of course there are more Republicans than Democrats in the House.

    While this will not usher in more cooperation in the House; far from it, it does not put this country through another nightmare of raising the debt limit or shutting down teh government. maybe they do read the polls that Congress has a 9% approval rating and a vast majority of Americans want to replace their Congress person; well over 80% of Democrats, Republicans and Independents feel this way.

    Of course, this doe snot help the most neediest in this country or the unemployed. The oligarchs, the Pentagon and corporations got what they wanted. There is still much work to do.

    We all know that come January, yes the House is now on Holiday for the next month, that teh GOP will try again to kill the ACA. Grover Norquist and the Koch Brothers will now go after every Republican who voted fro this bill. GOP primaries, and subsequent elections, are going to divisive right up to Election Day.

    Democrats can't cheer, they have the no public option and a damage of their own given to them by the ACA. It is not going to be easy for them either.

    But, we all know, come next fall, the oligarchy will place their choices, on teh ballot, so we can see continued gridlock fro another two years. The new reality that si American politics.

  8. Probably the best deal we can manage in this toxic climate. And a much better alternative than fighting all this over again in January - the economy needs stability above all and that benefits all citizens.

  9. Hmmmm... but we ***will*** repeat this during the debt limit debate in January, including a partial shutdown due to not enough money in the treasury.

  10. The fundamental dichotomy is that those right of center no longer believe in investing in America or Americans, those left of center believe the nation has a future. The vision of the Republicans is of the upper middle class and wealthy living in well-defended cloistered settlements behind high walls and fences. Those left of center are quite a bit more pragmatic.

  11. I think the vision of Republicans is that of not saddling their children and future generations with unsustainable debt.

  12. Yeah what about Bush tax cuts and two wars. No debt increase there.

  13. Well put. If CHM from CA really cared about future generations he'd fight the GOP notions that the government can't raise revenue or that increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere by 40% (and rising) has no impact.

  14. So proud of Patty Murray, one of our great senators from Washington state. She is a liberal Democrat, but she also understands that compromise is necessary to get things done in Washington, D.C. And it's encouraging to see Boehner and some of the other Republicans standing up to the extreme right wing of their party. Could this be the beginning of the end of gridlock in Congress?

  15. It can be the end of gridlock if more of the Democrats would stand up to the unrealistic demands of those in their party on the leftist fringe. It really does take Two To Tango.

  16. Hmmm... Compromise? You mean defeat. Ms. Murray obtained NO concessions at all from Mr. Ryan. Yes, perhaps she reduced sequestration levels by 50% in 2014 for discretionary spending, and only by 25% in 2015 --but extended a 2% yearly deduction in Medicare for two more years (so Medicare now will suffer cuts for 12 years in a row).

    And what exactly did Ms. Murray win? A tiny adjustment in a tax loophole? Nope/ Shutting down even the smallest special interest program in Washington? Nope. A gentlewoman's agreement on food stamps, extending the debt limit, or at least not seeking further spending reductions during the debt limit negotiations? Also no.

    Ms. Murray's totality of victory is a short, hollow speech by Mr. Boehner trashing the Tea Party, which will surely be forgotten when the Speaker and the Tea Party extract a high ransom during the debt limit negotiation.

    But what did Ms. Murray lost? The support of military families, whose pensions she trashed? Public servants, whose pensions she also trashed? The unemployed, which she summarily left lingering in poverty? Yes, she lost all that --but she gained becoming the laughingstock for the Debt Limit Negotiation Award coming this March.

    Ms. Murray should be ashamed, she betrayed the Middle Class and the poor just to be called "bipartisan." Mr. Ryan will be laughing all the way, you bet, to the debt limit negotiation next March.

  17. ldharding1
    The Democrats lack the grandstanding that Republican Congressmen do to grab newspaper headlines.
    They are all trying to outdo each other for the attention of their conservative base.
    I can name a bunch of Conservative lawmakers because they are always yelling and screaming for attention. Cruz, Paul, Rubio come to mind.
    But Democrats are pretty quiet. They do their job but don't try to grab headlines. Can't think of a single Democratic name that pops into mind except Reid. And he's their equivalent of Boehner so he doesn't count.

  18. Unemployment Comp & the Farm Bill
    Are a Democrat must if you will,
    Time to stage a grand battle
    And debunk Repub prattle,
    After New Year, a promise to fill!

  19. Again, the Tea Party stalwarts state their goal to obstruct the governing of this nation. Politically, in 2014, the party's recalcitrance should come back to haunt them. Falsely, they rage that Reid's decision to stop their abuse of the filibuster is a "power grab." Quite the opposite is true. A small, but fiercely radical sect in Washington is determined to prevent the majority from being economically, politically and socially empowered. It is amazing that Obama was able to get The Affordable Care Act, The Consumer Protection Act and The Lilly Ledbetter Act passed. The right-wing activists state that the Conservative movement is under attack. It should be. The America people deserve better.

  20. There has to be some pork in this bill. Show me the money!

  21. "Uncompromising" should have a far more negative connotation than it does. That's all.

  22. Time for tax simplification and closing loopholes !!!

  23. Not as long as there are corporate lobbyist in Washington. As soon as you simplify the rules, they'll be knocking on congressional doors to add special exceptions for their "very important" client.
    The reason why the tax code is so complex is because corporations send their boys to washington with suitcases full of cash in order to make sure that their special exemptions and special loopholes are enhanced.
    I have never seen a simplified tax plan that can't be modified to suit a corporate client.

  24. Two prominent republicans on the deficit:

    Reagan: "I don't worry about the deficit, it's big enough to take care of itself".
    Cheney: "Reagan proved it, deficits don't matter".

    Apparently not. ReaganBushBush, in their combined twenty years raised the debt ceiling 28 times, in 240 months. on average, every 8.6 months.
    ReaganBushBush added 312% to the federal debt.

    The last republican President to balance a, one, budget, was Dwight David Eisenhower.

  25. Half of the budget for 2014 is for defense spending, but the neocons who drum beat for 2 wars wouldn't care about cutting veteran's benefit when they're coming home. It's astounding.

    Government subsidies billions of dollars to oil industry, but GOP do not believe this is a handout, unless it's helping unemployment and working poor.

    Government bailout big corporations, Wall Streets, and big banks while they're invading tax loopholes that cost hundred of billions in tax revenue, but GOP do not think this is a problem. Worst of all, corporations want to slash SS benefits and raise Medicare age eligibility, and GOP o.k with it, because it doesn't affect the top 1 percent.

    GOP have been preaching self independent and responsibility, but the federal min wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour. If the fed min wage had met inflation since 1960, today min wage would be above $10 an hour; however, it has stuck at a stubborn rate due to corporation's greed and GOP's Ayn Rand policy.

    "Since 1978, CEO pay at American firms has risen 725 percent, more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the same time period, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute." As pay skyrockets for the top 1% and tax rates fall for the richest Americans to the lowest level, rising inequality has left the bottom 95 percent of Americans with debts, and GOP o.k with this, because it doesn't affect the top 1%.

  26. The GOP does not think the issues you mention are a problem, but neither do Democrats in the House. Otherwise, why did they vote for this bill?

  27. @Yoandel

    The GOP voted for this bill because they do not want another government shutdown.

    The Dems voted for this bill because they do not want to blame the next government shutdown.

    It appears the deal is to prevent government shutdown, rather than for reason to solve things like tax loopholes, jobs, unemployment benefits, over spending in defense, fed deficit, etc.

  28. It's trickle down misery.

  29. It's unfortunate that some thing we're saddling our children with unsustainable future debt. They have no faith in the power of future generations to harnesses the great power of all kinds of people working together generating solutions with brain power and love

  30. Whatt we are saddling our children with is a deficit of investment, a deficit in the form of crumbling infrastructure, a deficit in the form of of inadequate educational opportunities, college debt...... we are just letting a few people get richer and richer while failing to invest in our children's future.

  31. The Tea Party should have spoken up over a decade ago when Bush squandered the surpluses; debt has been unavoidable with the economic collapse we are climbing out of. If we spent our money on infrastructure, we would at least have roads and sewage working properly for the future generations saddled with this debt. Instead we got short sited tax cuts for the wealthy while fighting 2 wars.

  32. Well, I would agree with you on that. I think we need to reduce the bloated military budget down to about 100 billion a year. Half of all federal workers are employed by the pentagon. We need to cut foreign aid. End the war in Afghanistan. Sign a pledge never to engage in another foreign war unless directly attacked by a foreign nation (no more Syria). Withdraw all american troops from Japan, South Korea, German and England...or send those countries a bill for our services. Cancel all future weapons programs until they can show that our current military hardware no longer works

  33. Passing this "bipartisan" budget deal proves something without a doubt: that the Republican party is much more than the Democratic Party. Republicans actually believe (for the most part) in what they are fighting for, and they can quibble about the details --a bit of sequester here, a bit of sequester there... basically moving some of the next two year's sequesters into 12 years of reductions.

    Simultaneously, in complete strategic defeat, today the Democrats found it facile and convenient to sacrifice the poor, the unemployed, the nation's public servants, and even military personnel pensions in order to be called "bipartisan" all the while Medicare is progressively made poorer.

    It is difficult to see for what so called "Democrats" stand today if it isn't for the paycheck and lobby money of higher office. Had they actually represented their constituents (as Republicans did today) they would have allowed Republicans to throw the sick, the poor, and the unemployed (who, by definition were part of the Middle Class just shortly ago) under the bus ***without*** letting the GOP save face under a "bipartisan" deal.

    The most pernicious enemy of the Middle Class are these so-called "Democrats." At least Republicans are honest and fight for what they believe. The so-called Democratic Party of today, by faking caring about the Middle Class, does much, much more damage than the GOP could ever do.

  34. Thinking people will ask about the budget's politics, "what's missing and why the change?" The speaker who shut the government down, gushes over a bi-partisan deal. Why?

    Behind the curtain are legions of corporate interests that depend on government partnerships, from tax breaks to inspections and import-export permits (chemicals, drilling, food, sub-assemblies, retail electronics, clothes, more!) for a smooth, safe path without risks and liabilities to their profits.

    The government shutdown, its the $28 billion economic loss proved the Tea Party caucus had become a liability and a threat. Heritage and the other named groups have made government a target while ignoring business interests, big and small. (Not to mention the people's interests!)

    John Boehner since his early days in Congress has followed corporate signals. He is a mechanic for lobbyists, and provisions that help his corporate friends.

    Boehner's new ally, Paul Ryan, neutralizes the ambitions of Eric Cantor. He strengthens ties to the largess Bohner enjoys: extensive jet travel, PAC contributions, large gifts to his own campaigns; all because he is a leader who knows how to follow.

    As Speaker, he’s addressed no major issues: infra-structure, education, or jobs. He has tried to make Congressional budget power supreme.

    His criticism of conservatives shows his "go it alone" ideology has a lot of help and his success today is a simple step that says, the old kids (corporate interests!) are back on the block.

  35. What's missing in today's bill is the protection of territory associated with Democrats--the economic net that keeps the broad interests of the country supplied by aiding families with safety nets for income and food during times when jobs are scarce and wages are low.

    The missing elements can be interpreted in two ways: one, better to cut the ring off on common issues, so intense single focus can be applied to push for success on issues like the farm bill, and immigration, and wage minimums. Two, Democrats caved and are beginning to jump on a slippery slope ending at healthcare and social security.

    I think it was best to avoid an overreach. With 2014 as a back drop, the budget bill clears much of the debris of Republican blame, and leaves exposed their clear targets: healthcare (ACA, Medicaid, Medicare) and social security.

    In the Speaker's words, this bill reduces the deficit (his words, politically, are more important than the numbers, sadly!).
    The important economic net is left in plain sight, with the American voter vigilant.

    The willingness by the Speaker to rise the farm bill's support for rural communities is, I think, another blow to the Tea Party, whose activists hold many rural seats. Yes, food stamps are in jeopardy, but so are farm insurance and subsidies. Who wins from this lose-lose position? By default, traditional Republicans who are now shifting blame to the Tea Party Caucus and the new Boehner-Ryan alliance.

  36. “But over 10 years, deficits would go down slightly, because of higher airline ticket fees, larger worker contributions to federal retirement plans, slower growth in military pensions, and a two-year extension in the next decade of a 2 percent cut to Medicare provider payments.”

    The 99% are asked to make the all the sacrifices and the wealthiest Americans and corporations that pay the lowest taxes in decades keep their tax breaks.

    If the so-called fiscal hawks believed in deficit reduction they would cut the waste in the bloated military/security/intelligence budgets – more than $1.4 trillion when the hidden costs are included. The “defense” sector is not labor intensive. Infrastructure projects create 40% more jobs per dollar than spending on the military, health care creates 70% more jobs, and education creates 240% more jobs.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the Budget Conference Committee, was a voice of sanity during the negotiations: “At a time when we are experiencing more wealth and income inequality than at any time since the 1920s, and when Wall Street and large corporations are enjoying record profits, we should be asking the very wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. That way, we will not only lower the deficit but bring in enough revenue to invest in our economy and create the millions of new jobs we desperately need.”

  37. Deficit reduction is an absolutely top priority so long as it does not inconvenience anyone who gives us big bucks.

  38. In CA, the highest brackets now pay 13%, which, with federal's highest bracket, totals about 52% at those levels. Add to that a 3.8% tax imposed on the lower of net investment income or AGI under the ACA. Not sure higher incomes have been as insulated as is being suggested. In any event, there will be no significant revenue increases sufficient to significantly impact the deficits or fund further spending the Democrats want unless income taxes are also imposed on middle class income levels (which also hits upper level incomes where they overlap) -- which is politically unattractive to the Democrats as well as Republicans.

  39. Robert Borosage’s (Campaign for America’s Future) prescription for getting the economy back on track:

    The Budget Misdeal: An Agreement That Solves Nothing

    “Repeal the sequester cuts as mindless and harmful.

    “Protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and programs for the most vulnerable still struggling in the midst of a lousy economy. Lay out plans to expand Social Security to provide the security seniors need to retire in dignity.

    “Detail the investments we need to make for our future – in education from pre-k to affordable college, in modernizing our infrastructure, in clean energy R&D, in job training to increase the skills of workers, in service programs to put the young to work – and determine how to pay for them by insuring that the rich and multinationals pay their fair share of taxes, and rolling back subsidies for entrenched interests from Big Oil to Big Pharma.

    “Take the next steps to fix the long-term source of rising deficits – our broken health care system.* There, the Obama reforms are already slowing the rate of cost increases. A sensible next step would be to end the drug company rip-off, empower the government to negotiate bulk discounts in drug prices and crack down on patent abuses.”

    * Of course, Medicare for all would bring our costs in line with other countries, save hundreds of billions of dollars, and get health care off the backs of businesses.

  40. RLS
    I agree with Mr Borosage and am glad you pointed out his progressive campaign. It is important that we all look at this group of intelligent progressives and learn something.

    What I take away from this very flawed budget agreement is that Boehner finally showed some backbone although the Democrats gave away far too much, especially unemployment benefits.

    I love the threats from the Tea Party people: it shows them up for what they are: schoolyard bullies who want to throw the poor and the middle class under the bus. Hopefully, and I sincerely mean this, we can at least remove some of them from office at the ballot box in 2016.

  41. Great prescription back in 1985. Too late now. Haven't you heard? We have managed to accumulate so much debt that it is over 90% of GDP. Wouldn't it have been nice if Washington hadn't squandered the money they've borrowed over the last 25 years and actually had invested it in job training and finding a way to have poverty subsidies actually be plans to move families out of poverty instead of just making them slightly more comfortable in poverty??
    Instead, special interests who paid lobbyists took all that money. Even the Syrian rebels have hired lobbyists to get their share of the taxpayer pie. Every "activist" group out there has lobbyists to get them "community grants". Funny thing, many of our current Senators and Congresspeople were in office all of the past 25 years. Voters didn't even vote to fire them in the face of this gross incompetence.
    And I may have to settle for Medicare in a decade, but until then, I want nothing to do with it. I've enjoyed robust health, but if that changes, I want my treatment options to be based on my personal situation, not based on an age based schedule created by some functionary in the Dept. of HHS whose only goal is to minimize costs.

  42. GGM, please note that public debt was more than 100% of GDP at the end of World War 2, and that the US became the richest and strongest nation in history during the late 1940s and 1950s by investing in infrastructure while paying down that debt. Do you think that Eisenhower was a Commie and the US was a socialist hellhole? We did it before and we can do it again.

  43. A budget deal that accomplish so little and yet is hailed so much is truly pitiful.
    When unemployment insurance runs out for 4 million Americans and milk prices quadruple because there is no farm bill and the economy remains mired in recession we can all cheer this historic budget deal.

  44. Accomplishes so little? Senator Schumer is quoted as saying, “The benefits of this agreement will go far beyond the actual agreement itself”. What so you know that Senator Schumer does not?

  45. The war within the Republican party, the Republican Civil War, was bound to happen sooner rather than later.

    I'd put my money on the old guard, in spite of the deep pockets of extremists like the Koch brothers. Wall St. financiers know which side their bread is buttered on.

    The split in the Republican party is good for Democrats and for the nation at large.

    But still, I don't hope for too much at this point.

  46. Time to start referring to the Tea Party as exactly what they are. Anarchists. God help us if these anarchists ever get remotely close to the reins of power in this country.

  47. When the collapse comes they will say this budget was not austere enough. They will call for more cuts in education, healthcare, foodstamps, unemployment payments, pensions, government workers and entitlement.

    This is another Democratic Party betrayal of the people. There is no longer any difference between the parties. Neither of them care about the civilian economy and the welfare of the citizens.

    It is all theater and locks in austerity.

    The poor, old, sick and needy among us are being thrown to the wolves. The welfare state is dead. RIP.

    Welcome to the permanent military security state.

  48. The unspoken impetus for this compromise is that sequester cuts were about to hit the defense budget hard. However,
    I'll take whatever means liberates the John Boehner and the House Republicans from the lunatic fringe.

    I too wish that the restoration of funding for social programs were more generous, but I'll take this baby step in the right direction.

  49. Maybe the "Death Panel" sentence is more about starvation and less about healthcare?

  50. Hard to believe anyone can see no difference between parties. What kind of deal do you think there would be if Romney were president, McConnell Senate Majority leader and Boehner still Speaker? Obamacare? Unemployment benefits, Medicaid, social spending? All would be gone; please be a little reasonable.

  51. Just goes to show that if the right just lets democracy work, which they claim to support, by allowing up or down votes on legislation/nominees, congress can work as the founding fathers intended.

  52. I seriously doubt the founding fathers would have thought that refusing to deal with structural budget problems for the 10th straight year with a national debt nearly at 100% of GDP is what they intended. It's easy to compromise on kicking the can.

  53. Should we celebrate because some bare modicum of cooperation emerges after years of bile?

  54. As a retired military member and a current federal employee, I'm really glad to have contributed my small part to this budget compromise so that congress can increase spending......I'm sure the long term unemployed who will lose benefits shortly are even more thrilled to play their part. Who else will join this shared sacrifice?

  55. The "richest" (most of whom are not millionaires much less billionaires) who have already seen multiple tax increases. The self-employed middle class who saw their insurance premiums and out-of-pockets jump 41% in just one year. Small business owners who 5 years ago thought if they could just forego taking a salary for a year they'd get through the recession only to see the health insurance they provide their employees skyrocket for the next 4 straight years.
    I keep wondering when Americans are going to get back to noticing the burdens of others rather than just their own. I guess I've got some time still to wait.
    Thank you so much for your service. And that I mean sincerely.

  56. Speaker Boehner let his caucus to the shut down of the government. Their excuse, The Affordable Care Act . He said he didn't want to do it but he went along all the way. Now, He has this phony "Are You Kidding Me" quote.He may believe we, the American public have short memories. He can come home to Ohio and tell all our people why they are losing unemployment benefits and why he walked away from the Grand Bargain with President Obama.
    My guess is they saw the polls about the government shutdown. It wasn't pretty for the Republicans.
    When we all see our dairy products go up pretty soon we will all be asking "Got Milk?'.

  57. Why does government has to subsidies corporation in order to get better milk price, while billion of dollars from SNAP would cut? Isn't this is counter productive? Why not ask government to upgrade the federal min wage at $7.25 an hour to a living wage to meet today inflation, don't you think?

  58. Paul Ryan and the GOP are phony deficit hawks. They voted in lockstep for two large Bush tax cut packages benefiting mostly the wealthy and corporations, two unnecessary and costly wars, a Medicare drug program that did not allow for the negotiation of drug prices, and a bailout for the crooks on Wall Street who caused the recession.

    All unpaid for!

    The budget-busting tax cuts, the wars, and the deregulation of Wall Street which led to the Great Recession continue to drive the deficits in the coming years, NOT so-called entitlements. See the first graph:

    Deficits would turn deficits into surpluses if we:
    - end corporate welfare for the Department of War
    - make health care affordable through Medicare for all
    - return to a progressive tax code
    - eliminate tax loopholes, subsidies and other corporate giveaways
    - enact a modest financial transaction tax
    - put America back to work by investing in our deteriorating infrastructure, research, education, and a clean energy economy

  59. @RLS

    I like your list, but it would not pass in the house, unless you we take back the house in 2014 and regain the senate.

    GOP congress approval rating is 9%, which is 32% lower than the Affordable Care Act, therefore, let repeal and replace them in 2014.

  60. The real test of this compromise will come next November, especially in the House. If the situation doesn't change next November is going to be the not business as usual we have seen ever since November, 2010. If that happens President Obama will be the lamest of ducks!

  61. Look closely at each item of change. It seems to me that Dems did most of the compromising.

  62. boehner finally caves to his corporate owners.

    thankfully the extremists have been muzzled temporarily.

  63. This is just another example of so-called fiscal conservative Republicans in Congress, who are actually controlled by the corporate wing of the Republican Party, pursuing their corporate agenda of increased government spending, more deficits and debt, and less personal liberty.

    They have just declared war on their own grassroots. The next battlefield between the
    two groups will be on primary day, 2014.

    ex animo

  64. This so-called bi-partisan deal is hardly that. It favors the 1%, as usual. Our Congress is firmly under the thumb of indescribably cruel and despotic people who care only about the quality of their lives and certainly not that of the American people. We are slowly but surely being enslaved by unscrupulous villains and truly evil persons, and they are NOT all from this country.

  65. So there's no farm bill (get ready for dairy and meat prices to increase) and no unemployment bill (with the SNAP cuts, get ready to read about people starving to death), but House Republicans had time this year to continue its streak of 40-plus attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (though I've never seen the "replace" part). Business as usual for House Republicans.

  66. In total agreement with RLS's earlier post. This is a disgrace on both parties for not addressing the issue of prolonged un-employment payments for those out of work. Dont say anything when those with desperate needs turn to crime to survive.

  67. Another prime example of our political processes leading to the sacrifice of good on the alter of mediocrity.

  68. I always found it funny how people can claim to want to "cut government," yet they flock to join it and become it's highest paid employee and greatest beneficiary

  69. Patty Murray is very effective. She was very inclusive on the budget, gotit done early. got some programs like Head Start refunded. Just making the deal os gold rong for her. This is very interesting turn of events with Ryan. The Senate class clow Marco Rubio disapproved of it and Ryan and Murray were still finishing it off. He hadn't even seeen the document cause it wasn't cmleted. I will be suprised if he gget re-rlrcted to the Senate.I think he was part of the reason we did noot fet an Immmigration bull. The tea party went after him big time, so regardless of what was in the budget, he has to be against it. Making a jusgement on something as critical as the budget without even seeing it ia not a good trait for a President. He is going to get chewed up and spit out in the 2016 debates

  70. This is what you call a budget deal ? A "deal " that leaves 1.3 million people without ANY source of income via unemployment benefits ? People wouldn't need an extension of UC benefits if the hoity -toity GOP would've passed the president's jobs bill. The Dems need to fight for the people that voted them into office.This congress obviously believes people can life off air. How does one live without money ? Oh, I forgot, congress is "entitled" to their salary, while cutting entitlements for others. This so-called compromise is for the birds !!

  71. It's interesting that there are either no or few positive comments in this section about this law. I look upon it as a start to sane legislation

  72. After looking at the vote this is the first time in a long time that I the the use of the description "bipartisan" is appropriate.

  73. It seems this is not a great deal. Maybe that's the definition of compromise. For the Democrats, they didn't deliver for their voters (the unemployed, federal workers) and the Republicans told the loudest voices in their camp that the severe austerity (the sequester) was over.

    On the politics, both sides are hoping to play to centrist voters believing that governing without brinkmanship will be to their electoral advantage. This strategy may get the Democrats off the ropes, but it also allows the Republicans to hide their crazy aunt (the Tea party) in the attic. As some have commented here, I think the Republicans came out on top.

  74. Maybe the republicans feel that a little moderation combined with some strategic ballot box blocking can get them back on top?

  75. of course the "crazy aunt" in the attic may start shouting any moment and expose the GOP as the party of guns, religion and pickup trucks, once again. Where are you Willy Gomhert and Michele Bachmann, now that we want to hear you?

  76. Mike, If Democrats were only supported by federal workers and the unemployed, then they would not hold the White House and the Senate. Standing up for the poor, doesn't make you the party of the poor. As a matter of fact, the poorest states in the union are staunchly Republican and poor rural whites don't vote Democratic either. The same applies to the military. Would you vote Democrat, if you lost your job and couldn't immediately find a new one? I doubt it.

    No, what has happened is that the wealthy backers of the Tea Party are pulling their support. The Koch brothers and their ilk wanted to pay less taxes and get rid of regulations they didn't like. But they didn't want a bunch of fanatics getting the country close to federal default. Look, the super-rich need the state to guarantee their contracts and to make sure that their money is safe. They hate spending, because politicians will always reduce debt through modest (not Weimar-level) inflation and that reduces the value of their holdings. That's all there is to it and the Tea Party has overreached by threatening default.

  77. This view presents the losing formula the conservative extremists have dogmatically clung to:

    "Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, said the House Republican conference agreed in the spring that spending levels exacted by the sequestration cuts would not change unless Congress and the White House could strike an accord to control long-term causes of the rising costs of the federal debt, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

    This failed view says nothing about curtailing if not ending tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, about closing or consolidating the 800 overseas military facilities, about ending earmarks and subsidies in general, about stopping the funding of local and regional projects across the nation that, if worthy, others such as states, municipalities, and private concerns should fund, and so on.

    The conservative extremists offer a lopsided approach to the needed reduction in spending and in the national debt.

  78. What exactly have the Republicans given up in this deal. Neither food stamps nor unemployment insurance have escaped cuts. The Pentagon get the ability to order more weapons they probably don't need and Guantanamo stays open. There is very little for the Democrats to celebrate in this deal unless it is the Republicans abjuring black mail for aboutr1 1/2 to 2 years,

  79. They abjured black mail till next March, when the debt limit is reached. That is, if they do not black mail on food stamps, in late Jan (though food stamps, as well as unemployment insurance, are likely already dead).

  80. Two things we can celebrate: an end to some of the crisis hopping which keeps business and the American people uncertain and prey to fear mongering, antleast for awhile, and the republican leadership taking on the extremist conservatives in their party. This nonsense has to end.

  81. If your graphic is correct, the military got about $22 billion more as did "non-defense"programs over sequestration levels. It's shocking that defense is 51 percent; is that correct? Yes, the increase in the budget amount--split down the middle, favors each side. And yes, taxes are not increased nor are entitlements decreased. So, this modest deal preserves the status quo in terms of policy. Nevertheless, there's the horror of not extending unemployment benefits and the uncertainty about future raises in the debt ceiling. My concern is that the Democrats had a big advantage here in that the Republicans were desperate for a deal to avoid another government shutdown. Why, under these circumstances, couldn't they at the very least get unemployment included and also deal with Food Stamps at a time of year when Christmas compassion is supposedly the rule? This is a deal that only Scrooge would approve, but I say "Bah, humbug!"

  82. RLS has some very good points. I would add a few more:
    1) - Pass a bill taking away from Boards of Directors salary and benefit decisions placing , that responsibility into the hands of the shareholders and employees, from which the board buddy system, in which CEO's and family members as well other executives sit on each-other's boards thus fixing the compensation packages. It should limit each shareholder and employee to one vote each regardless of the number of shares they own.

    2) Place EXCISE Taxes on ALL Outsourcing, including the Northern Mariana's at the rates of 5% - 10% above the retail price of domestic goods. That will make America what it was before 1980 putting the 31 millions American either unemployed or underemployed ALL back to work.

    3) Nationalize all health care and roll all of them into Medicare, and cancelling The "Obama Care".

    4) CEOS and there accomplices should have long ago been indicted under The RICO ACT for conspiracy at fixing salary manipulation. All Executives should be unable to earn more than 20 times that of the average employees, but under $2 million a year cap bonuses included and all employees should receive by percentage bonuses whenever executives do under the direction of the shareholders and employees.

    5) All workers and executives share identical healthcare and other benefits.

    6) Double the income of those on Social Security to $64,000 a year and confiscate all savings, holdings and net worth over $15 million.

  83. Jeez. I'd be glad if we could just tax the rich and corporations. This "budget deal" mentions no taxes on the rich or corporations, and that's what we must have to help raise revenues.

    At least we need to support Elizabeth Warren's proposal and the bill to link everyone's wealth to Social Security. Having only part of society paying for this program that in many ways benefits everyone in our country is discriminatory.

  84. I was kind of with you up until #6 "confiscate all savings, holdings and net worth over $15 million" Do you mean the government should simply steal peoples money?

  85. As a progressive I can't say that I am happy with the budget but I am happy they achieved one and bipartisan at that. A big THANKS to my state Senator Patty Murray. You rock.

  86. Exactly right: if Paul Ryan gets any traction from this, we as a country are all losers.

  87. It occurs to me that this could very well be the overall GOP strategy -- make Ryan look good in contrast to the others so he will be a shoe in. Then watch him pick Rubio or someone as a running mate and make the big switcheroo back when it's time. I do not trust him or the party one iota.

  88. The devil is in the details. As it is often with Democrats we do most of the heavy lifting in these deals. I have yet to hear any information on the details of this budget or how the CBO scored it. I will reserve judgement but I am very skeptical.

  89. Hats off to the Speaker, Rep Ryan and Sen Murray. Not perfect but a BIG step in the correct, bipartisan direction. I wonder what Mike Lofgren is thinking?

  90. Republicans with this deal are attempting to find a fig leaf that would cover up their irresponsible budget and social policies. Government throughout the course of our history has attempted to promote the public good sometimes through education and infrastructure growth, sometimes with fair labor laws, the protection of children, women and minorities and with programs that help the economically challenged. There has been disagreement about how to promote the public good, but some how we always thought government was a force for good. But now government is seen as the enemy or as a vehicle to attack our struggling citizens. As others have said Republicans have created the largest deficits in the past usually through war spending, but now when It suits them they use their past spending as a wedge to undo all that serves the good of our people. This agreement in that it stops the Congressional blood shedding is good, but it in no way changes the goal of the Republican Party which is the destruction of our government and the promotion of any policy that might help their rich patrons.

  91. Great summary of the situation.

  92. It's amazing Mr Ryan is being hailed as a hero for not acting like a petulant child. That said, I am glad the Republicans finally decided they shouldn't be pandering to the whims of the conservative political groups--at least for a little while.

    Maybe we can extend the adult activity to a long-term lift of the debt ceiling or better yet, attaching it to all spending bills. A vote to spend should be a vote to finance that spending.

  93. I haven't read much about the cut to military pensions. After being at war for the last 12 years, it's amazing to me how congress could pick military pensioners as such an easy target. Asking men and women who risked their lives, devoted 20 plus years of service to take a hit to meager pensions is sad and misguided. The cut was to yearly cost of living increases, so now retired military members will have even more trouble keeping up with rising prices gas, food, utility, education, taxes, etc.

  94. This deal isn't supposed to solve every problem. It's an interim deal that will allow for normal procedure going forward on budgetary matters, so that both sides can hopefully negotiate that elusive grand bargain to reform entitlements, find revenue and revamp the tax code. Although the top line budget number is below where Senate Democrats would like it to be, I will take the lower number now if it allows for 2 years of freedom from the kind of government-by-crisis we've recently seen; and the hope of more comprehensive deal to come.

  95. That the Congress continues to ignore the Spying and Surveillances
    is becoming threatening to our well being.

    Pretending there is no black cloud is folly indeed.
    Either folly, or complicity. I hope there are enough members of
    Congress to stop this 'out of control NSA, and their Partners'.

    Frankly, I would be scared if I were them. Those guys have
    enough weapons and ammo to take over instead of going quietly
    into the void.

    For the Congress to Lag may not be the best idea.

  96. This so called bipartisanship is as as much of an illusion as is the House's legislative abilities are. At the end of the day their proving themselves as or if not more useless than the did the day before.

    Just because they've tried to show themselves mostly capable of all pushing the same button, does not bipartisanship make - it just shows at most that the republicans not afraid of getting cooties from the democrats by touching something they've touched - or do you think they put on latex gloves before they did.

    My guess is that they did, as well as face masks and white coats, just to be sure there was no cross contamination for this one time. When any matter comes along, short of a no-brainer like this one, it will call their foundation principles into play and things will revert back to their ugly days of partisanship gridlock.

    If commanders could previously overturn verdicts, what was even the point of having trails in the first place. Should of just asked the commanders what they wanted, and be done with it.

    And leaving Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, over President Obama’s objections is a victory? Ha! That sounds more like a republican rout - regardless of what the Timescalls it.

  97. The hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle is so deep, everyone in Congress must bring their hip boots to work. For Schumer, who has blocked carried interest rule reform for his rich contributors, to praise this budget is shameful. And Nancy Pelosi complaining about unemployment benefits--too little, too late. The other Democrats, excepting possibly Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, must all have been out to lunch the day they covered what the party stands for, including the president, hiding in the weeds. I expect this sort of drivel from Republican MOC's, but to hear it from the Democrats is just too much.

  98. I, for one,think a brief elimination of the farm bill would be good for the country. It would demonstrate how government affects normal citizens day to day lives if milk and other commodities drastically rose in price. The anti-government crowd relies on the government's invisibility to keep its cause alive.

  99. This is really pathetic. A Congress with single digit approval ratings passes another "kick the can down the road" bill, that accomplishes almost nothing so they can go home for the holidays thinking they've done their jobs. This is not a little step, it's no step. They didn't address the deficit, the debt, entitlements, immigration reform, social security, medicare, healthcare or a miriad of other problems this country confronts. They simply agreed to disagree. This is no accomplishment. It's simply an inept group of people attempting to appear as leaders. Problem is...they are not leaders, and they are making us, the citizens, losers.

  100. Give me a break, politicians will never engage in 'hard labor'. Best the be taken to a rock pile and asked to crush stones with their words.

  101. This is a step backwards, not a step forward. A far better deal would have been to stay with the current sequestration deal, which has actually had some modest success at reducing our deficit. If Ryan or Boehner are worried about the ACA, then leave it off the table. What the Times and many others continue to ignor is our ballooning debt, $17 Trillion last time I looked. Add in the "unfunded mandates", and we're somewhere around $90 Trillion in debt, not counting state debts and pension obligations. This backdoor capitulation by Boehner to the Democrats makes me wonder why. Why? I'm guessing he also will roll over on granting amnesty to 20-45 million illegal immigrants; and Ryan may have visions of running for POTUS. So deficit reduction is effectively put on hold for 4 years? Do the math. When interest rates rise - and they will - our goose will be cooked by our massive debt. P.S. I am not a member of any 'fringe' group, I am an Independent / Ross Perot Conservative. So with Rubio favoring Amnesty and Ryan not a fiscal conservative, who am I left with? Ted Cruz or Rand Paul? This is very bad news for America, which is addicted to the credit card like everyone else.

  102. Tea party or no tea party, our legislators should all do what's right for the citizens of this great nation and stop fighting each other, in order to protect themselves!

  103. Having government do nothing for a few years is a good thing.

  104. If only we were able collect tax revenue from over 20 million working undocumented workers my country would benefit.

  105. Actually, very many of them DO pay taxes -- in addition to contributing to the economy in ways that also help increase revenue through taxes on related jobs and consumption. As for any others who perhaps do not pay taxes, the best way to get that accomplished is to provide them a path to citizenship.

  106. If only we were able to collect a fair tax revenue from the top 1% and US corporations, my country would benefit.

  107. I have read the comments attributed to John Boehner regarding the criticism
    by the conservative extremists. Although I am opposed to the Republicans, I salute Mr. Boehner for having the backbone to stand up to the extremists in his party. We need more centrists in both parties that are willing to compromise to get our
    government back on track serving all the people of our great nation.

  108. I must applaud the $20B lower budget in comparison to last year, and in a bipartisan way.
    I sincerely hope that they can finish up the other few points in the budget in the first session of next year.

  109. Sequestration was a purposefully bad budget agreement. This budget agreement is bad by design. No meaningful entitlement reforms. No meaningful debt reduction. One month agreements on crop insurance and food stamps. No tax reform. And no reform to the Affordable Care Act, which obviously needs revisions to properly serve the 40 million Americans who were supposed to be covered by insurance for the first time.

  110. The Republican leadership is only compromising (read "doing their job") now because the midterm election season is cranking up and they want voters to forget that they almost crashed the whole economy over Obamacare and have stonewalled on job creation while millions of the unemployed and underemployed suffered. All of a sudden Boehner and Ryan Inc. want to play nice? Boehner's sudden transformation to Mr. Tough Guy publically dressing down the Tea Party contingent is laughable. He did their bidding and talked their radical talk for how long? He is still one of them, a wolf, but now putting on the sheep's clothing. Lest we forget.

  111. Hey, these days we have to take what we can get. It may look like posturing to you, and it probably is. But at least there's a hint of common sense, if not the full-blown thing, peeking through this.

  112. Will the frail get better services? Will the hungry be fed? Will children have an education equal to what was offered to us during the past 50 years? Will the working class be expected to pay more in fees for fewer services or will this "compromise" continue to protect the acquisition of wealth by the relatively few over the needs of the many?

  113. The budget deal is not ideal, but the massive Republican support gave cover to scaredy-cat legislators who care more about their own reelection than the business of the American people. Aren't people tired of the shrill pronouncements of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee?These guys are clowns with no principles and a shrinking base of support. And they want to be president! Really! It looks like 2016 will be another circus complete with jackals, hyenas and parrots. Fun to watch, hard to vote for.

  114. As with any budget, nobody wins and everybody wins. The elephant in the room is not the Tea Party, though. It is the defence budget. This form of corporate welfare is going to have to stop sometime; why not now?

  115. Speaker Boehner finally muster the courage to speak out against the Tea Party obstructionist. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and the Heritage Foundation should now realize that they can no longer hold the government hostage.

  116. What this most looks like at first glance is potentially brilliant political strategy on Rep. Ryan's part. Washington's current hyperpartisan climate makes this effort looks much more substantive than it actually is -- as Gail Collins points out in her column, bipartisan efforts to pass a budget used to be the equivalent of making your bed, i.e., doing your most basic of chores. So with a simple gesture at bipartisanship, Ryan immediately differentiates himself from his other extremist opponents (Rubio, Cruz et al.) at minimal cost, while being a more photogenically appealing candidate than Gov. Christie. Successful candidacies are often made of such political atmospherics...

  117. At long last, Speaker has acted in defiance of the knee-jerk radicals --read, extreme conservatives-- who do not give a hoot about the nation, having pledged allegiance to pressure groups that want to destroy our government ostensibly in order to save it. John Boehner may have earned a purple heart. Many of us who left the Republican party may rejoin it if other GOP congressmen follow Boehner's lead.

  118. A bipartisan bill is the best way forward enabling the energies of law-makers to be channelled in more creative, non abrasive ways. Too much of time has already been lost and citizens were becoming weary of games being enacted by politicians. Will this be a partial truce or is this a staging ground for more tough battles between Republicans and Democrats? Both sides have tried to olace banana skins on the floor so that their opponents slip and make a very bad impression on voters. Politics is after all a very dirty game the world over! The Tea Party will be licking its wounds after its recent poor showing!

  119. So taxes are being used to pay for defense expenses the defense department itself says it doesn't need? Imagine how much good that money could do for society, in terms of much-needed infrastructure, education, and other basic needs that will only cost more if we do them later.

    Taking back some of the sequester cuts is not really much of a compromise. I think we can take Paul Ryan at his word that he is happy.

    The president is right to praise compromise but needs to assert what he thinks should happen and why so we can go in that direction.

  120. The Red States economies are based on military spending, just another form of federal welfare, so no Republican is going to vote against it.

  121. Mouse,
    Possibly Ron Paul followers would. I think there are people on the more "libertarian" side of the Republican Party who want to cut military spending, but for the most part the party is strongly pro-military spending.

    You can treat it cynically as a matter of money, but I think there's a psychological side to the issue, too. Republicans are generally more proud of our military than they are of our social programs. They're often excited by new military technologies.

  122. I understand the conservatives have a view of what America should be. Some of them are selfish, mean spirited, jerks, but others are actually sincere. Even a liberal democrat like me sees that there is some merit in some of their ideas. The Tea Party attitude of "all or nothing" has negated much of what might be valid about the GOP. A sensible person would think "Gee, the majority of the country doesn't agree with me. Maybe I should consider a middle ground that reflects what the majority wants but still keeps some of my values." Instead we have filibusters and, when that was taken away, stalling tactics that serve no purpose but to make the GOP look foolish and annoy everyone. Take the ACA. It's happening. It's not going away. You're not going to repeal it. A sensible position would be to tweek it by telling insurance companies that they can't just cancel people's policies, find ways to train more doctors, and so forth. Instead they spend 30 hours debating a presidential nomination that is going to be approved anyway. This is not doing the people's business.

  123. Blame the President when he signs the bill into law! That said, you can rail all day and night against the republicans in the House. Will you rail against the Dems when they eventually pass this out of the Senate? Will you rail against the President when he signs it into law? You realize of course the President can veto this horrible piece of legislation? So go on with your name-calling and whining...I'll be watching for your posts when the President signs this. Fair is fair folks...oh wait, I forgot the crowd I'm addressing...oh, by the way, I'm one of those evil retired persons who just saw his retirement pay affected...what part did you contribute to this legislation?

  124. Boehner going berserk on the right wing groups was simply amazing!

  125. I keep scanning the sky for flying pigs.

  126. Another Boehner bill that required Democratic votes to pass. Not surprising they voted for it since broadly speaking it's a win for the Democrats. Despite Republican alleged enthusiasm for the sequester their military fans and appropriators couldn't live with the arbitrary cuts to either Pentagon or domestic budgets. "Are they kidding" said Boehner. Perhaps he should ask himself since he went along with these crazies and shut the government down for weeks.

  127. I am a pretty staunch conservative and even I am getting a tired of hearing the Tea Party hardliners pound their fists and fits of fire and brimstone. What they need to understand is that the American economy is a 10Million Pound Tractor Trailer speeding down the simple cannot smash on the brakes. Change needs to be incremental and planned out. Do I think that they could have done more with the budget? Sure. But it is a beginning and now we need to continue to work with the Liberals to find new ways to change course and promote change. What they need to understand is that their voters will vote for change and innovation, not tantrums.

  128. Hey, good for you. We need more level-headed, practical, responsible conservatives like you. A return to a time when both parties had good ideas and compromise actually sometimes resulted in a better outcome than either side alone would have gotten.

  129. The problem is the discourse. Deficit spending stimulates the economy. Austerity policies have the opposite effect. Europe sees that now. Tea Party thinking is bad for Congress and the nation.

  130. It is a simple agenda for every conservative leader and group; blame government spending so they can justify keeping what Bush tax cuts they have and so they can encourage conservative constituents to gripe at the Democratic Party about what unequal Bush tax cuts they are threatened at not being able to keep.

    It is not just about management of the governments money, it is about managing the ‘nations’ money, too! It is about retirees losing their partial health care pensions through the decades and neither party’s leaders doing anything to encourage businesses, who could afford to, to keep pensions for low wage and salary workers instead of letting Mediciad pick up some of the cost for some retirees. Perhaps Democratic leaders thought the money would instead; just grow off the Bush-trees, too, but ‘through’ the government, as well.

    Well, is not it convenient that both sides say they could not get everything they wanted from the other side to avoid really taking on complex solutions for our complex problems in our economy? (Gee people, somehow, now the Democratic leaders and the administration get away with having cuts to programs to have some revenue to pay down the deficit with, by blaming Republican leaders. Perhaps that is what the Democratic sequester proposal was all about, too, getting money to pay down the deficit, by blaming Republican leaders.)

    Who needs either party’s avoidance of a full loss? I want some Independent Party ideas that win both sides.

  131. It's amazing what these guys can get done when it's time to pack up for the holidays, return to their safe, gerrymandered districts and spend some quality time with the corporations, er, I mean people, who love them most.

  132. "When people don't learn from history they re doomed to repeat it." what you don't know can kill you.

  133. What? No billion dollar handout to farmers, an insidious form of welfare that has gone on for generations?

  134. You should have noted that Jim Jordan is incorrect in his statements about Social Security being a cause of rising debt and that health care cost for Medicare are increasing.

  135. Simply stating something does not make it true.
    Here is what the ultimate nonpartisan authority - the CBO - says:
    In 2010, however, for the first time since the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1983, annual outlays for the program exceeded annual revenues excluding interest credited to the trust funds.
    A gap between those amounts has persisted since then, and by CBO’s projections based on current law, outlays would exceed such revenues by around 13 percent over the next decade. After that, the difference would grow; by 2038, outlays would be about one-third greater than annual revenues excluding interest credited to the trust funds.
    CBO projects that, under current law, the two Social Security trust funds combined would be exhausted in calendar year 2031.
    Once the trust funds are depleted, the Social Security Administration would no longer have legal authority to pay full benefits when they are due.

  136. There's hope, with the ag bill stalled. It's time to cut the subsidies to landowners. The food stamp program, or equivalent, should be in another department. It's not an ag program.

  137. I am hoping that this delay will allow the House to consider subsidies for out of work psychedelic guitarists. If they can pay farmers to not plant, I should be paid to not play!

  138. "The defense measure would, in addition to strengthening protections for military victims of sexual assault, leave open the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, over President Obama’s objections." This is shameful. Charge these poor souls, try them and either sentence them or let them go. There is no justification for holding people without trial. This is the kind of thing one reads about nations under dictatorship.

  139. “[I]t left unfinished . . . Congress will not deal with it . . . [A]greement remained elusive. . . The deal does not address . . . —Ah, it feels good to be back to normal.

  140. Two positives here. One that the bill finally brings back the concept of bipartisanship. Secondly that the GOP leaders are at last pushing back on the Tea Party extermists who have no interest in compromise or even in accepting any form of victory. They thrive on obstructionism and Obama hatred, even when the American people are the losers.

    My concerns are that the GOP is continuing to strip away all forms of safety nets for the poor and unemployed. Do you really think people want to live on food stamps and unemployment insurance? Besides food stamps are largely provided to the working poor. Unemployment is provided based on work history. Many unemployed have decades of work before unfortunate layoffs. What about those 55 years old and older who have never before been without work?

    Does the GOP prefer increased homelessness? Do they prefer more beggars in the streets? Do they prefer increased crime resulting from poverty? What is the GOP answer to the fact that there are at least 3 job applicants for every job? Evidently two thirds of the unemployed are to blame that they cannot get jobs that do not exist. It was largely the free markets that caused our economic collapse but the poor and disadvantaged have to pay the price while taxes on the very wealthy have only gone down. What is the bottom line cost for stripping away the safety net while the rich get richer? Trickle down economics?

  141. Although I am not happy with the bipartisan budget deal's failure to extend unemployment benefits I agree with Senator Schumer's optimistic assessment. It was very important for the country to see verifiable proof that their government can still function. After the shutdown fiasco some of us were starting to have serious doubts.

    I am also heartened that the Republican party is putting some distance between themselves and ultra conservative shadow organizations like The Heritage Foundation. I don't have a problem with a legitimate conservative party. I have a big problem with un-elected extremists rigging elections and forcing politicians to do their bidding or be "primaried" out of existence.

    I found watching Speaker Boehner vociferate; "you've got to be kidding!!" especially entertaining. Myself and many of my fellow Americans have been feeling exactly the same way as we watch our government dissolve into a miasma of fetid gridlock and dysfunction. I feel you Mr. Speaker. Right on.

  142. Right-wing big money groups demanded Republicans reject Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget deal — or else.

    But 169 Republicans approved it anyway last night.

    And even though the deal itself was relatively small, it’s still a big moment for House Republicans.

    For the first time since they took back the House in 2010, a strong majority of Republicans have rejected the political absolutism encouraged by the far-right groups that mired Congress in gridlock for years and culminated in a government shutdown this fall.

    Speaker John Boehner could barely contain his glee as he knocked the outsiders for the second time in two days on Thursday afternoon. “Frankly, I think they’re misleading their followers, I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility."

    Gee, ya think? Boehner finally figured it out - about 3 years too late.

  143. The real question is why now? Boehner was perfectly happy being the lap dog of the far right. Why the sudden change?