An avalanche of criticism erupted last week when embattled senate Democrats briefly delayed a bill to fund unemployment benefits for struggling families, physician reimbursements, and highway safety projects.
Insane, hypocritical, mean-spirited, obstructionist, and calloused were just some of the epithets directed at Capitol Hill via the media and blogosphere, when the senators brought the bill up to the cash register and discovered that they actually needed their wallets.
I know it seems ridiculous, but you can’t really blame them. Senators never actually pay for the things they authorize, so there’s going to be a learning curve here.
And I’m sure it was a shock. You should have seen their faces when they found out the “Phony-Façade-of-Fiscal-Responsibility” legislation they passed last month (also known as “Pay-Go,”) had some fine print. I think it read something like this: “If you morons want something you’re going to have to find money to pay for it just like everyone else.”
Anyway, they were a little unprepared, a little out of practice, and they couldn’t come up with the cash in time to keep funding those appendectomies, shaky bridge repairs, hungry children, etc.
Some cynics said the legislation was delayed intentionally in order to manufacture a Pay-Go-exempt “emergency.” I have no idea why anyone once.would think that, except maybe because it has already worked for them once.
But I think we should give them a break. Paying as you go may seem simple to you and me, but it’s going to take a little practice for members of congress. And I don’t give any credence to the rumor that Senate Democrats take the phrase “You can’t get blood out of a stone” as a personal challenge.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. Yesterday the senate voted to just take that unpaid invoice and toss it way, way up onto the top of the stack, and everything was all better on Capitol Hill.
In an unrelated incident Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) caused a stir at the Capitol on when he flipped the bird at some playful reporters who kept sticking their feet in his elevator door while he was trying to get to a basketball game.
Come on, get a sense of humor, Senator Bunning.