Try to imagine what would happen if Congressman Paul Ryan produced his budget proposal only to have House Speaker John Boehner kill it so that Republican members could dodge a difficult vote. A media feeding frenzy! That's what would happen!
Well, it all came true, almost. All except the part about the feeding frenzy. Oh, and the players were Democrats, not Republicans. Gee, I wonder if that's why the press had such a poor appetite for the story. It was Democrat Kent Conrad, Senate Budget Committee chairman, who proposed, and Democrat Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, who shot him down.
Well that is exactly what has happened among Senate Democrats this week. Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad proposed a version of the Bowles-Simpson plan as a draft Democratic budget and said he would bring it up for markup and eventually a vote in his committee—which would be the first time the Senate Democrats have actually bothered to propose a budget in nearly three years. But then Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid stepped in and killed the idea, insisting that no budget was necessary and forcing Conrad into a bizarre farce in yesterday’s committee markup—which involved no votes, and consisted largely of pleading by the chairman directed implicitly against his own leader.
Our liberal press blames the Republicans, naturally.
At 2 p.m., Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, began marking up the Simpson-Bowles plan. "What I am proposing is not partisan," he said in a statement. "I am trying to break from the ‘business as usual’ practice that has gone on for too long." But 'business as usual asserted itself in a hurry.
As the Committee's Republicans pointed out, this was a peculiar kind of mark up: There were no amendments allowed, and no vote scheduled. "I've got to say how deeply disappointed we are that we can't go forward with the kind of mark up that seems justified, that we can't offer amendments, that we can't offer alternatives," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Budget Committee's top Republican.
But Sessions wasn't looking to pass the bill. He hated it.
Oh those intransigent Republicans! But at least the were there which is more than you can say for the Democrats. Here's the photographic proof which comes by way of Hot Air where Ed Morrissey writes:
This picture comes from yesterday’s so-called “mark-up session” of the Senate Budget Committee, a meeting which chair Kent Conrad helpfully promoted by declaring that he wouldn’t allow any votes to be taken on budgets. That turned the meeting into nothing more than a discussion forum, one that Conrad’s colleagues decided to skip. The picture, taken by a Republican staffer at the meeting, shows all 11 Republicans sitting on the far side of the table — and almost no Democrats in their chairs: