Analysis: AP's Budget Analyst Doesn't Know What He's Talking About
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Sep 30, 2007 at 10:11:21 AM EDT
Yesterday the AP ran along its wires an article by Andrew Taylor under the headline, "Analysis: Dems falter on budget deadline." In fact the only person that falters in this regard is Taylor himself. He writes,
The most basic job of Congress is to pass the bills that pay the costs of running the government. After criticizing Republicans for falling down on the job last year, Democrats now are the ones stumbling.
The government's new budget year begins Monday, but Congress has not completed even one of the dozen spending bills appropriating money for the day-to-day operations of 15 Cabinet departments.
President Bush has lobbed veto threat after veto threat at Democratic spending bills because, taken as a whole, they would break his budget by $23 billion or more. Though Bush is sagging in the polls, his threats have majority Democrats tied in knots.
To begin with these three grafs, Taylor seems to be unfamiliar with the process by which bills become law (notwithstanding Don Young's insertion of an earmark after legislation had been passed by both houses of Congress and the 109th Congress enacting into law legislation that had not passed in the same form in the House and the Senate). Quickly, for a bill to become law it has to be passed by the President. So if the President, in his intransigence, refuses to make a deal with the Congress over the size of the budget, threatening a veto unless Congress does exactly what he wants, the President is at least as much as fault as the Congress -- and probably more so, in fact.
Later in passing Taylor writes,
This is hardly the first time that Congress has fallen behind schedule. Last year, when Republicans ran Congress, they gave up on the budget altogether and forced Democrats to finish it on Valentine's Day in February -- 4 1/2 months late.
Taylor seems to think that he is doing alright here because he is showing that the Democrats are just doing what Republicans have previously done, thus making his piece sufficiently balanced. But for someone providing "analysis," he sure doesn't explain the meaning of these facts whatsoever.
Why is the Congress now bumping up against the budgetary timeline? It's not because, as Taylor suggests, it is tradition for Congress not to pass spending bills on time. Instead, it's specifically because the Democrats had to spend more than a month doing the job of the previous Congress in passing spending bills for fiscal year 2007 because the Republican leadership hoped to stall the Democrats' agenda by saddling them with an extra responsibility.
Perhaps this is the type of analysis one might expect from the AP's analyst, but apparently not so. Instead we get GOP talking points hitting the Democrats. Nice going, Associated Press.