by Ralph Benko
The New York Times considerately gives us an early look at the Box Canyon into which the 114th Congress, the GOP leading, is riding. In G.O.P. Is Divided as Budget Bills Start Piling Up we discover:
WASHINGTON — In their first major test of governing this year, Republicans stumbled, faltered — and nearly shut down the Department of Homeland Security.
And that vote may have been the easy one.
In April, physicians who treat Medicare patients face a drastic cut in pay. In May, the Highway Trust Fund runs dry. In June, the charter for the federal Export-Import Bank ceases to exist. Then in October, across-the-board spending cuts return, the government runs out of money — and the Treasury bumps up against its borrowing limit.
All will require congressional action, and while many of these measures used to be pushed through in an almost unthinking bipartisan ritual, there is no such thing as simple in Congress anymore.
Militant conservatives are calling for a coup against House Speaker John Boehner. The hard core right is expressing fury toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The real villain, however, is an economic “ice age,” not feckless Congressional leadership. Continue reading