“The junior senator from Texas,” James Taranto wrote in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “is decidedly unenthusiastic about the current state of the institution he joined nine years ago”:
“It’s not what I would call the world’s greatest deliberative body now,” John Cornyn, a Republican, says on a recent visit to the Journal. “The Senate has been pretty much dysfunctional. I mean, we haven’t had a budget for well over 900 days. We don’t have legislation that’s introduced and then referred to committee, and actually have it marked up in committee, where people can offer amendments and debate them. . . . It’s all been sort of prepackaged. [It] shows up on the floor, [Majority Leader] Harry Reid denies the opportunity to . . . offer amendments, and then he complains about Republicans filibustering the legislation.”
Given the efforts of the president and his fellow partisans to blame the nation’s problems on the intransigence of a do-nothing Republican Congress, you’d think the Senate Majority’s management of the one chamber with a Democratic majority might get more coverage, particularly its failure to fulfill its basic fiscal responsibility, passing a budget.
As House Republicans have done the hard work of putting together a budget that controls spending — and shown the American people where they stand by voting on it, the president, instead of offering counter-proposals, has offered only speeches. He and his fellow Democrats may attack the Republican budget, but the only budget the president has authored in the past year couldn’t muster even a single Democratic vote in the Senate. He still hasn’t put forward a specific proposal in line with his much-ballyhooed April 13 budget speech.
No wonder the Texas Republican . . .
. . . imagines the president with an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil on the other: “He’s listening to the devil, who’s telling him, ‘Don’t make a deal.’ Paul Ryan in the House proposed a constructive solution to . . . our fiscal problems. And rather than engage and propose something constructive himself . . . [the president] decided to go into the class-warfare mode, where, as you know, you can’t raise taxes enough to solve the problem.”
“And by the way,” he adds, “it’s not raise taxes so we can pay down the debt, it’s raise taxes so we can keep on keeping on—doing what we’re doing, which is spending a whole lot more money, making a whole lot more promises than we can actually keep from a financial standpoint.” Mr. Cornyn worries that without a solution to the spending and debt problem, “we’re going to end up like Europe.” To break the impasse, he says, “we need an election.”
And as we face those elections, let us hope that stories like those from the junior Senator from the nation’s second largest state get more traction. Reporters should be asking Democrats the tough questions, like where is their plan to cut spending? Why hasn’t the Democratic Senate even voted on a budget in nearly 960 days.
And president’s latest “big” speech came with no specific policy proposals attached. No wonder he — and his fellow partisans — are so eager to attack the Republicans for their plan. Their demagoguery deflects attention from their failure to offer concrete solutions to our nation’s pressing fiscal problems.
Let’s hope Senator Cornyn’s commentary gains more currency in the coming days. He makes clear which legislative chamber is the do-nothing one. And it’s not the one with a Republican majority.