US budget war - hype and hyperbole
Washington, September 29, 2013
By Fred Barbash
To those not watching the Capitol Hill debate over funding the government and Obamacare: You don't know what you're missing.
It's "high noon," cautioned Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, "as dangerous as the breakup of the Union before the Civil War."
No, actually, it's not the Civil War, said Republican Representative Roger Williams.
Williams likened the budget battle before Congress to the Revolutionary War. "It's truly our generation's Valley Forge."
But wait, what about World War Two? That was the analogy of US Senator Ted Cruz, the Texan who compared fellow Republican senators who didn't agree with him to appeasers of Nazi Germany.
Republican John McCain said he resented the Cruz comment. But then again, he has called Cruz and his allies "wacko birds."
"A kind of craziness," was how Democrat Jan Schakowsky described the scene on the Hill. The eight-term congresswoman from Illinois added that, "combined with the craziness is a meanness that I haven't really seen before."
Such is the rhetoric that has infused the debate over a wonky-sounding bill entitled "Continuing Appropriations For Fiscal Year 2014."
That is the bill that would fund the federal government when the previous appropriation runs out at midnight Monday, causing a partial shutdown.
Republicans continued to demand Saturday that in exchange for their support of the funding bill, President Barack Obama and his Democrats must agree to delay the healthcare reform law enacted in 2010 after a bitter debate.
That was Armageddon, now-Speaker of the House John Boehner said at the time, the biblical war between good and evil, the last battle.
Well, maybe next-to-last.
Three years later, another battle rages. The warriors are tarred with unforgiving labels. The Republican's conservative Tea Party wing is the "weird caucus" to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. Democrats, in turn, are the "political ruling class," to Senator Mike Lee. In time, Reid's "Tea Party anarchists" came up against Lee's "crony capitalists" who - according to Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama - happen to favour "socialised medicine."
Many Republicans have vowed to repeal the health care overhaul designed to provide coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. To them, Obamacare isn't just a bad law.
It's "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress," said Representative John Fleming of Louisiana. -Reuters
More Analysis, Interviews, Opinions Stories
- Arab Spring boosts demand for bulletproof cars
- New engine, new rules and new sound for F1 in 2014
- Qatar rift a pivotal test for GCC
- Lufthansa to offer in-flight movies on smartphones
- Gulf's rift over Qatar may slow investment, reforms
- GCC insurance industry on a stable footing
- Turning charisma into cash: Bernanke's 40 minutes
- 'Healthy' role for private sector needed
- Riyadh, Jeddah among world’s cheapest cities
- US oil export ban could be lifted piecemeal
- Bill Gates with $76bn is world's richest again
- Mideast leads global luxury shopping spend
- ME firms facing ‘record level of cyber attack’
- Clubbing business with leisure and community work
- $27bn capital shortfall facing regional banks
- Obama, wary of foreign crises, faces new Ukraine test
- The brief reign of bitcoin's top exchange
- Iran's fleet back in business as exports pick up
- New food labels to combat obesity
- Dubai says has learned lessons from crisis
- Mt Gox bitcoin customers' money 'virtually gone'
- Now, Bond-style Smartphone from Boeing
- Top trends in workforce management for 2014
- Syrian exporters try to revive businesses
- Saudi spending potential narrowly based
- Obesity becoming the new norm in Europe
- Mobile privacy sells in post-Snowden world
- Morocco aims to quadruple farmland leases by 2020
- WhatsApp? No sign of Goldman Sachs
- Region ‘still dominated by expat workforce’