The budget agreement reached between Senator Murray and Rep. Ryan meets the most important precept of medical ethics: Primum non nocere (First, do no harm). The agreement, if approved by the House and Senate, will avoid the harm to the country that would follow from another government shutdown. It will also avoid the harm to the Republican Party from yet another demonstration of inability to function in a divided government.
Indeed, the agreement has the potential to do more than avoid harm. It may be a hopeful sign the Republicans and Democrats can work together to reach agreements that satisfy neither but that are essential to moving the country forward. Perhaps it will prove to be a happy coincidence that the agreement was announced on the very day that RINOcracy.com had invoked the spirit of Nelson Mandela to urge a spirit of reconciliation between our polarized political parties.
The agreement, of course, has its critics. The headline of a New York Times story this morning read “Bipartisan Budget Deal Puts Ryan Under Fire From Fellow Conservatives.” And, sure enough, our own email inbox turned up a message from Tea Party Patriots, Inc urging opposition to the agreement in no uncertain terms: “This new ‘bipartisan budget deal’ cobbled together by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray behind closed doors smells like the rotten garbage we have become accustomed to see coming out of DC.” The routine criticism of the agreement (as an increase of both spending and taxes) was accompanied by the quite peculiar claim that “They will use this deal to grease the wheels for amnesty, making amnesty that much easier to pass.” To which one can only say “Hunh?” But if the budget agreement did somehow make it easier for passage of comprehensive immigration reform along the lines of the bill that passed the Senate, RINOcracy.com would view that as another plus for the agreement. We received far more useful a message from Fix the Debt, which has been a clear and consistent voice for fiscal responsibility:
Let’s be real – this deal doesn’t accomplish nearly everything we need to get done to deal with the debt– including, importantly,fixing our entitlement programs and reforming the tax code.
But it is an important step forward. It shows that Congress can work together to come up with a deal instead of waiting for the 11th hour and governing by crisis.
We all know Congress and the President will have to do more to deal with the nation’s fiscal problems, but let’s urge them to make this deal the starting point of working together and tackling our fiscal challenges together as a nation.
RINOs who are so inclined are invited to use the link provided by Fix the Debt to contact your Senators and Representatives.
As a final note, we observe that curiously little has been said about the implications of the budget agreement for the approaching deadline to raise the debt ceiling. As a matter of logic, it should mean the Republicans will go (relatively) quietly on that issue as well. But logic is often in short supply on Capitol Hill, so we will have to wait and see. It remains the position of RINOcracy.com that, while increases of the debt ceiling may be an appropriate occasion to debate fiscal issues, and to advocate reform, they should never lead to a serious threat of refusing an increase and triggering a default on federal obligations.