The Thinker: Rich Galen


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You Can't Always Get What You Want

Rich Galen

Thursday December 12, 2013



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  • In 1969, the Rolling Stones - who have been touring since about 1343 - put out an album that had as one of its songs, "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

  • The U.S. House and Senate should do a quorum call right after the prayer and have every Member sing that song, every day they're in session - which is only about five days a month.

  • The reason this is important today is because Senator Patty Murray (D-Wa), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis), chair of the House Budget Committee have announced a two-year deal that will avoid a fight over sequesters, avoid a fight over the debt limit, and avoid a fight over another government shutdown through the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

  • Just to show you how unlikely this deal is in the current environment, consider this:
    In 2012 National Journal magazine gave Sen. Murray a rating of 95 percent on her support for liberal positions on the economy.

    That same year, the American Conservative Union gave Rep. Ryan a lifetime score of 91 percent.

  • So you see, these are not natural allies.

  • Every report has made it clear that the Tea Party conservatives in the House don't like it. The deal essentially splits the difference between what the Republicans wanted to spend ($967 billion) and what the Democrats wanted ($1.058 trillion). And when I say "essentially splits the difference" I mean darn near to the penny: $1.012 trillion.

  • It adds back some of the money that was cut by the sequester process - about $63 billion, but NBC News points out that total spending over the same period will be $7.4 trillion so the sequester amount is 0.85 percent of the total spending.

  • On the one hand there will be new fees on air travel in the guise of an increase in airline security fees to the tune of $13 billion over the next ten years. On the other hand the deal does not extend the "emergency" unemployment benefits which began in 2008 and, if this passes, will end on January 1, 2014.

  • House Republicans learned their lesson this past September when they shut down the government over Obamacare. Obamacare, you might have read, is collapsing all on its own and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and the House Cruzettes didn't need to bring scorn down on the GOP to help it along.

  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) clearly out of patience, let outside conservative groups have it at a presser yesterday when he accused them of opposing the deal "before they ever saw it" and "using our Members and using the American people for their own goals."

  • House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) was not eager to commit her caucus to providing enough votes to push the deal through the House if those outside groups can intimidate enough GOP House Members to vote against it.

  • We should know that answer this afternoon because it appeared yesterday that the GOP leadership wanted to get this deal to the floor before the Lobbying Class can form its battle lines and start tinkering on behalf of their clients - right and left.

  • I don't think this is a great deal. I don't think Ryan or Murray think this is a great deal. It is an acceptable deal that will allow the House and Senate to do something other than wrap both Chambers around the axle of a broken down fiscal pick up truck without the ability to even talk about other issues.

  • As the Stones sang:
    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you just might find
    You just might find
    You get what you need

  • The country needs this deal.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to a YouTube video of the Stones singing their song and a pretty good Q & A from NBC News on what's in the budget deal.

    Also a Mullfoto showing the new spirit of cross-aisle relationships.

    -- END --

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