"Democrats Decided to Pick a Fight"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 26 2011 12:52 PM

"Democrats Decided to Pick a Fight"

I'm with Norm Ornstein: This is a eye-poppingly wrong turn of phrase from the Post's fantastic Hill reporters Lori Montgomery and Rosalind Helderman.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Congress left town for the weekend without resolving the latest spat over spending, an almost accidental dispute that set the parties bickering over $1.6 billion in budget cuts — an amount that equals just 0.04 percent of the federal budget. As a result, Washington once again finds itself a week away from a potential government shutdown, a possibility that was supposed to have been averted as part of last month’s deal to end an epic battle over the federal debt ceiling.
That agreement was still largely intact Friday. But Democrats decided to pick a fight over a side issue: an insistence by the GOP to pay for more disaster relief funding by cutting a popular auto-industry loan program. Republicans refused to back down.
Advertisement

Democrats decided to "pick a fight" like John Stossel "picked a fight" with David Schultz.

The history is long but uncomplicated.

August 25: Eric Cantor's spokeswoman Laena Fallon says that "Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."

August 29: Cantor reiterates the point: "Yes, we're going to find the money. We're just going to need to make sure there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so."

September 2: MoveOn org buys ad time attacking the Cantor position as a hostage-taking. Cantor's spokesman Brad Dayspring responds:

"If people want to criticize the idea of offsetting, that’s a policy argument and legit and worthy of discussion," he said." But this whole charge of 'holding funding hostage' and blocking urgent funding is beyond absurd."

September 6: Democrats, sensing weakness, introduce a "clean" bill to provide disaster aid with no offsets.

September 7: Cantor responds again in a briefing with reporters.

Unequivocally, I am for sure making people get their money and not having to wait. I would like to say also that some of the reporting done, maybe by you in this room and others has been inaccurate. I have never, never said that I'm holding anything hostage or would be for playing politics with this. It is inaccurate and I think it is irresponsible on part of those who have written that.

September 16: Democrats move their bill while Republicans introduce one that includes FEMA funds with $1 billion cut from an energy efficiency loan program.

Since then we've had ten days of predictable accusation-flinging, but nothing that changes the basic facts. Republicans first proposed that FEMA funds come with cuts to pay for them. Democrats rejected that and suggested paying for aid first, then kicking the fight over cuts to some other bill. How did Democrats "pick" this fight? Yes, cuts-for-aid are the new normal, and yes, in the past Democrats had the reasonable position of demanding tax hikes to pay for aid. That's the choice -- borrowing, taxing, or cutting. The GOP offered one choice: Cuts, now. They picked the fight.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:29 PM Want to Know What Makes David Fincher Great? Focus on What He Doesn’t Do.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?