Since the country apparently has no real problems that Congress needs to be addressing, Republicans in Congress have invented a game called “let’s defeat Obama’s budget.” Here’s how it works –
Every few months, to fight the boredom, some Republican will crank out some farce legislation and submit it for a vote as “President Obama’s budget.” Be clear that the legislation is not, in fact, President Obama’s budget, but a Republican concoction inspired by those crazy copy-and-past 5,000-word emails you get from your wingnut uncle. As near as I can tell, the “budgets” are created by taking top line numbers from the President’s actual budget and leaving out about 1,944 pages worth of details, including revenue enhancements. The result is a monstrosity that the White House wouldn’t vote for, either.
For example, the here’s how the White House responded to the most recent gag budget, introduced by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of
Thus, a White House official said, the Sessions proposal was a “shell that could be filled with a number of things that could hurt our economy and hurt the middle class,” a White House official said. “For example, rather than ending tax breaks for millionaires his budget could hit the revenue target by raising taxes on the middle class and rather than ending wasteful programs, his budget could hit its spending target with severe cuts to important programs.”
This vote, on a Potemkin “Obama Budget,” is not intended to be taken seriously. It’s a stunt designed to get a slag into the newscycle, and they tend to work. What happens is a Republican legislator presents a “budget proposal” that’s designed to be a satirical presentation of an “Obama budget.” Democrats don’t vote for it, because they recognize that it bears no resemblance to their budgetary preferences.
Good times! Anyway, the Republicans then put the “President’s budget” up for a vote, and because it’s such a joke no Democrat votes for it, either. Then the Republicans send out press releases saying that the President’s budget was unanimously defeated. And that Democrat-controlled liberal media cranks out amusing headlines repeating the charge about the unanimous defeat. The news stories often leave out the detail about how the defeated budget actually was a joke, which makes it all even funnier. And then wingnut bloggers write posts about it like this one:
It’s Hope and Change we can believe in as Obama proposes legislation that sweeps to unanimous votes in the House and Senate:
President Obama’s budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.
Coupled with the House’s rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama’s budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.
It’s great to see Obama uniting Washington and developing some momentum. Especially as that momentum seems to be carrying him to the exit.
Of course (wink, wink) the legislation that was voted down was not what President Obama proposed, but what a Republican imagined the President would propose if he were as demented as they are. But it’s great to see so many people keeping their sense of humor through all these trying times of not having anything else to do.
Update: Some are complaining that the Democrats haven’t introduced a budget lately. Jason Linkins writes,
But if you want to divine what another famous character of the stage termed the “method in the madness,” look at the latter half of Stephens’ statement, and the complaint that the Democrats have not put forth a budget. That’s fair, but it invites a trip into the weeds. There are reasons why the Democrats haven’t done so: 1) they know that any real “Obama budget” is a legislative nonstarter in the current climate of obstruction, and 2) the Democrats hold that the conditions created by the Budget Control Act are their de facto budget. This does not cover the lack of a budget in 2010 and 2011 — those didn’t happen because of the aforementioned obstruction, and some off-year election Democratic Party theories that failed votes would be more costly at the polls than no vote at all. (The results of the 2010 elections suggest that this was, perhaps, too clever by half.)
Let’s face it; Republicans would go ballistic and vote NO NO NO NO if Obama submitted so much as a deli menu. Even so, Dems might as well submit the real budget, which would get a majority of Dem votes. Call out the game-players.