WSJ's Paletta Blames Tea Party for Broken Congress, Omits Reid's Unwillingness to Pass Budget

October 1st, 2013 6:55 PM

Corrected from earlier | "After three years of last-minute deals, delayed decisions, and acrimonious finger pointing, the process for one of Congress's most basic functions—spending money—finally buckled and broke down Monday night," the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta sighed in the opening paragraph of his October 1 story, "Breakdown Is New Norm in Spending Fights."

"Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the House and Senate have been directed to pass annual budget resolutions setting targets for government spending levels and then work out the differences," but "Congress in recent years has abandoned its traditional budget and appropriations process," Paletta noted. Yet nowhere in his 21-paragraph story did the Journal scribe lay any blame at the feet of Senate Democrats and their leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though the upper chamber failed to pass a budget in nearly four years, only doing so in March.* 

What's more, Paletta left unmentioned that House Republicans did put serious budget plans on the table throughout President Obama's tenure in office, including the Ryan Plan, which was savaged by the liberal media.

Notice how Paletta avoids ascribing any blame to Democrats, almost making it sound like the breakdown just sorta happened:

This year, Congress hasn't passed any of the 12 major appropriations bills that fund operations for things like the military, homeland security, agriculture programs and education for the fiscal year that starts Tuesday.

The House did pass four spending bills in recent months but abandoned the process after lawmakers found some of the cuts untenable. Senate lawmakers, meanwhile, haven't approved a single spending bill on the floor.

Some of the cuts were untenable? In other words, liberal legislators thought that conservative Republicans wanted to cut government spending too much. Yet Paletta steadfastly refuses to assign blame to Democrats, although he's happy to lament that the Tea Party is the ultimate enemy of compromise, quoting a Northeastern Republican to make that liberal point for him:

When Congress faced similar deadlines in the past, veteran lawmakers often stepped in to broker deals. But some lawmakers who have played that role are sidelined now. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is facing a primary challenge from a tea party-aligned Republican, creating a disincentive for him to be seen working with Democrats to strike compromises.

"There's no obvious pathway out of this right now," former Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) said in an interview. "You've got the president, who isn't participating. And you've got our side, held hostage by people with no interest in governing."

*an earlier version incorrectly stated that the Senate has not passed a budget. In March the Senate narrowly passed Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray's spending plan.