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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 10, 2011 4 Adar II, 5771

In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the United States Senate, failure is not an option.

It is a requirement.

Lawmakers, unable to agree on action to deal with the looming debt crisis, set up camp on a new plateau of pointlessness Wednesday: They scheduled votes on two rival plans to cut spending - but only after guaranteeing in advance that both plans would be defeated.

Senate Republicans needed to prove to their colleagues in the House, and conservative activists everywhere, that they don't have the votes to pass major cuts to the current year's budget. Senate Democrats needed to prove to the White House, and to their liberal base, that they don't have the votes to maintain the status quo.

And so, after days of haggling, both sides agreed that they would effectively doom both proposals - severe Republican cuts and cosmetic Democratic cuts - by subjecting them to 60-vote supermajorities. As it happens, such precautions were unnecessary, because, after a three-hour debate, both proposals fell well short of even a simple 50-vote majority.

As a grace note to this farce, the man in the presiding officer's chair as the debate began was none other than Sen. Al Franken (D-SNL).

Could it get any more ridiculous? Don't ask.

Midway through the debate, Sen. David Vitter (R-D.C. Madam) strolled onto the floor and lectured the chamber on morality. "It's morally wrong to end an innocent human life through abortion," he said, with Lenten ashes on his forehead. "I also believe it's morally reprehensible to take tax dollars from millions of pro-life Americans in order to fund organizations that do that." He used the phrase "morally wrong" one more time before concluding this Ash Wednesday appeal.

By the up-is-down logic of the Senate, the twin failure - the GOP bill went down 56 to 44 and the Democratic version failed 58 to 42 - is actually good news. It means that both sides can now sit down and negotiate a compromise that trims 2011 spending without choking off the economic recovery. Soon after the plans were defeated, in fact, word emerged that lawmakers were working on a plan to keep the government running fortwo more weeks - a period that would end, appropriately enough, on April Fool's Day.

The return to the bargaining table, apparently, could have been achieved only by allowing lawmakers to shout past one another for a few hours on the Senate floor.

Sen. Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) led off the debate with an accusation that the Republican plan would "jeopardize the economic recovery we are beginning to see."

This was true.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) responded by accusing the Democrats of a "complete abdication of leadership" by offering a plan that is "completely inadequate."

This was also true.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) attempted to defeat the Republicans by burying them in cliches: "Scorched-earth spending proposal . . . Trojan horse . . . dirty little secret . . . the dust has settled."

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would not be out-hackneyed: "Moving the goal post . . . low-hanging fruit . . . cradle-to-grave nanny government . . . ever-expanding leviathan state."

"In short," summarized Hatch, "are we going to remain America?"

It was a measure of just how far things have slipped that one of the more sensible people in the chamber was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted against both plans. "Neither plan will do anything to significantly alter things," he said, pointing out that the bigger problem is with entitlement programs. "My problem with the discussion and the debate at this point is that I don't think either side recognizes the enormity of the problem."

Also voting against both plans was Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who scolded her own side for being "in denial . . . about the nature of the problem and how serious it is." Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined McCaskill in grown-up-land. "Both bills are dead and they deserve to be dead," he said, in uncharacteristically colorful terms. "One bill cuts too little. The other bill has too much hate."

Hate is subjective, but it's pretty clear that the Republican plan would do violence to everything from the FBI to food-safety inspections, and throw hundreds of thousands out of work. The Democratic plan, by contrast, has no sense of urgency, cutting only one half of 1 percent of discretionary spending. And neither does much about the long-term debt.

"By the time I finish this talk," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced on the floor, "we will have added $98 million to the debt."

Well, then, Senator: For the love of country, zip it.

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Previously:



03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group