The budget deal that was forged by Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) looks to be one step closer to final passage as the Senate voted 67-33 Tuesday morning to end debate on the measure. The vote was a pretty significant majority, as 12 Republicans joined the Democratic caucus in the procedural vote. One of the 33 Republicans that did not want to move the budget deal to a final vote was Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as he is obviously thinking about the primary challenge he is facing for his Senate seat.
Now that debate has been closed and the Senate has avoided a filibuster on this measure, it seems extremely likely that this will pass the Senate, as only a simple majority is needed to pass it. President Obama has already come out and said he supports the budget and will sign it as soon as it arrives on his desk. The budget passed by a huge margin in the House, as the majority of Republicans and Democrats both voted to pass it. Considering that the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate voted to move this to a final vote, it appears that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) should be able to deliver the simple majority needed even if no Republicans decide to vote for it.
The funny thing here is that Democrats are the ones who had to compromise the most on this budget deal. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said to her fellow Democrats as the deal was going up for a vote: “Embrace the suck.” Pelosi, Reid and Obama all know that Democrats, and the majority of American people, are getting the short end of the stick on this budget deal. There are no increases taxes to the wealthy or corporations. The spending level is only slightly higher than what Republicans wanted, which was at austerity levels. Some of the sequestration cuts were taken away, but most of that is to the military. Long-term unemployment benefits aren’t included in this deal, angering the majority of Democratic lawmakers.
OK, then why even support this budget? Obviously, the leadership sees this as a way of creating some stability on Capitol Hill and perhaps leading to further improvement in the economy. With the unemployment rate at its lowest in over five years and the economy slowly but surely improving and growing, Democrats don’t want to cause any hit to the economy as things continue to look up. Also, they obviously don’t want another government shutdown like we saw in October. Allowing another shutdown could be seen by voters as doing the same thing Republicans did two months ago, which is shutting down the federal government over ideological reasons. Whether that is correct is beside the point. The American public does not have any further patience for yet another standoff in Washington.
Basically, the Democrats have to be the adults in the room and come to a ‘compromise’ with a toddler known as the Republican Party. While the budget itself is completely a win for Republican ideals and is damn near austerity, Senate Democrats have to swallow this big, huge steaming pile of crap in order to get Washington to move forward and stay open. They are sick of fighting with the toddler over every little thing and decided that a win is just getting this awful child not to bite them and throw food in their face for once. Sure, this brat won’t admit how awful he is and that all of the mess created is his fault, but perhaps he will cry himself to sleep now and maybe something can get done around the house.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).