June 17, 2006
I got so sick of reading about the petty personal squabbles that have prevented the leaders of the Senate and House of Delegates in Virginia from reaching a compromise on the biennial budget resolution that I pretty much tuned out Richmond from my consciousness. Now, however, it seems that they have set aside their differences and taken a big step toward avoiding a government shutdown and/or constitutional crisis. (Governor Kaine had said he would issue emergency orders to spend for essential services, which Attorney General Bob McDonnell opined would violate the state constitution.) The central issue of how to fund transportation projects has been postponed for the time being, so at least the fiscal conservatives on the House side managed to hold their own. Good. As for the political ramifications of this prolonged stalemate, today's Washington Post explains,
The Republican-controlled House and Senate have clashed over the budget three times in the past five years. The repeated failure of the GOP's conservative and moderate factions to resolve their differences over taxes and spending has given Democrats hope that they might retake control of one or both legislative chambers next year.
Leadership? Party cohesion? Hel-lo-o?! As an example of how bad the level of trust between the two chambers has become, Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Chichester responded to a letter from House leaders by saying, "God, they're dumb as rocks!" (See Friday's Post.) Is that the kind of language you would expect from an intelligent politician speaking about members of his own party?