Publisher's Note: Jim Bispo's weekly column appears in the Beaufort Observer.
Several weeks ago it was Harry Reid threatening to invoke the "Nuclear Option" (i.e. changing the Senate rules so that a simple majority would be all that is required to pass legislation) if the Reps didn't do whatever it was he wanted. They "caved." Reid got what he wanted and the Reps ended up exactly where they would have been if he had invoked the "nuclear option." They didn't even get a little bit of something. They got all of nothing.
Now it is the Prez telling us that all it would take to get him to the negotiation table would be for the congress to pass a "clean Continuing Resolution (CR)" and then increase the Nation's debt ceiling (by some unspecified amount). What do you suppose there is to negotiate after the Reps do that??
You also hear the Prez telling Speaker Boehner to go ahead and take a vote on a "clean" CR. He obviously believes it would pass. What we do not hear him doing is telling Harry Reid to take a vote on any of the myriad of bills the House has sent the Senate. Obviously, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. At least not in the world of Chicago style politics we have been so exposed to over the last four and a half years.
We also hear the Prez telling the Reps not to bother to send him bills that don't fund the entire government all at once. He does not want piecemeal funding of the government. No one has seemed to focus on that, but it sure makes it look like the Prez doesn't even know how the budget and appropriation process works.
In the normal way, when the Congress receives the Prez' Budget, it is parceled out to the various appropriation committees and subcommittees, normally by Department or Independent Agency. The subcommittees schedule hearings and the Administrators and senior folks in each organization spend several days "on the hill" defending their budget requests to both the House and Senate sub-committees. Historically, the House approves a lower number than the Senate and the two groups must meet to reconcile the differences. Finally an Appropriation Bill for the particular Department being reviewed is approved by Congress and sent to the Prez for signature. The foregoing happens for each Department and Independent Agency separately. The result is over a dozen Appropriation Bills, each submitted separately to the Prez. Each bill is sent when it is ready. The timing of the hearings, the time required to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate "marks" etc. differ for each Appropriation Bill. They do not go to the Prez for signature all at once. His spear carriers and speech writers obviously don't know that or they would not have put words in his mouth to the effect that he didn't want to approve funding for the Government's operation piecemeal. Or maybe it is merely a ploy to provide the Prez with a "talking point".
On the other hand, perhaps that's why they haven't even bothered to submit budgets for Congressional review as required by law. (Where is the DOJ when you need them??). This Administration continues to demonstrate the sorriest excuse for management imaginable.