I've heard a certain amount of complaining on the airwaves about the bipartisan budget that the House just passed. I confess I was startled - I wondered what has gotten into Paul Ryan? Apparently this summer's government shutdown scared him, or did something to him. Most people feel the Republicans are to blame for the shutdown, and most people aren't happy about it. He's disturbed enough that he's willing to negotiate, and even to agree on new "revenue" - although he still won't call it "taxes." Still, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
People are annoyed because the budget doesn't extend emergency unemployment. I agree - it would have been better if it had. There are a lot of things it would be nice to have in the deal that aren't there. But it gives us something we haven't had for several years: a formal budget funding the U.S. government through this fiscal year and the next. Remember when the sequester came into force because they couldn't agree on a budget, even though everyone agreed that the sequester was a stupid way to cut funding?
Politifact has a nice article on budget history, evaluating Ryan's January 2012 claim that Senate Democrats "have gone without any budget at all" for more than 1,000 days." (As of January 23, 2012, that is. Politifact called it mostly true.)
But isn't this what we elected these people to do?? Why are they there at all if not to take care of the country's business, in a rational and organized way, working out compromises for the best deal they can cut? Nobody likes this budget. Good. That means nobody got everything they wanted. That is how politics has worked in this country for 250-plus years (with the minor exception of the War Between the States, and look how well that worked out). I'm relieved if surprised to find Paul Ryan actually negotiating a compromise. On past performance, I would have said he couldn't do it. If he can learn, maybe the others can too.
We passed a Constitutional amendment in California that says legislators' pay is docked for every day they go past the annual deadline without a budget. Now, the California constitution is hardly the shining example of the way to run an organization. But it's just astounding how those budgets come in on time since that passed! I don't think I'd try to amend the U.S. Constitution to do this; but I'd sure love to see Congress impose the rule on itself. The fact that they won't is just one more of the things that are wrong with Congress.
I still think they should have extended emergency unemployment. But I'll take the deal they cut.