The Hill has an article today talking about how much Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) and Sen. Judd Gregg (NH) love what the Catfood Commission has been secretly scheming about. The fact that these two radicals admire what is happening in these private meetings is terrifying. But the article does contain an important detail about the depth of the Republicans’ endless infatuation with obstructionism. From The Hill:
While [Democratic co-chairman Erskine] Bowles called for a general spending target, Republicans are pushing for enforceable caps. Gregg suggested making any spending beyond set levels subject to approval of a 67-vote supermajority in the Senate.
Republicans are not happy with a mere 60-vote filibuster threshold and think their ability to obstruct legislation needs to be enhanced even more. Apparently, a year and a half of near-total gridlock has convinced Sen. Gregg that what our government really needs is even more ways for a minority party to bring legislating to a complete standstill. Republicans hate public programs so much they are prepared to subvert the clear Constitutional principle of majority rule in Congress to stop them.
You need to look no further than the complete mess in California caused by its two-thirds requirement for new taxes and passing budgets. Gregg looks at the dysfunction continuously gripping Sacramento and longs to replicate it in Washington, DC.
The great irony is that the Catfood Commission was supposedly created to appease the non-existent invisible bond market vigilantes. Bond market investors supposedly fear that the federal government will be unable to repay its debts in the future. There may be no greater way to make investors afraid of that than to create an almost-insurmountable two-thirds requirement to enact needed reforms, stimulus, economic stabilizers or public investments in new infrastructure.
There is no limit to the Republicans’ desire to obstruct the Constitutional right of the majority Democratic Party to govern. Allowing Republicans to get away with blocking legislation has not made them more willing to compromise; it has resulted only in Republicans asking for more ways to make obstruction easier. It is way past the time for Senate Democrats to finish with this nonsense of the filibuster.