So far this Congress has hardly bothered to exercise it.
If Congress kills the Iran deal, it will leave Obama unable to fulfill his duties as head of state. Yet legislators won't be the ones remembered for the failure.
Last night, Congress came within a single senator's vote of passing legislation to authorize a major crude oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would pump more than 830,000 barrels of high-polluting tar sands oil a day and carry and emit 51 coal plants worth of CO2 (pdf)—despite the fact that U.S. oil demand is falling and, you know, the planet is burning up—in exchange for 35 whole permanent jobs. I'm sorry, I buried the lede: what I meant to say is that the runoff Senate race in Louisiana hasn't happened yet.
In politics, meeting in the middle is often a useful and necessary thing. But it isn’t itself an adequate ethical yardstick.
If you’re really into competing blueprints for the federal budget—and we both know you are—then it’s an exciting week. The president released his 2014 budget request today, and for the first time in many years there are White House, House and Senate budgets all on the table at the same time. There are also two other proposals, one from the House’s right wing and one from its left. These great graphs from the Washington Post compare these five plans to one another and to current policy. Note than on the first metric, the ever-popular question of budget deficits, all five dip lower than current projections in just a couple years.
Pundits have been praising Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House budget committee, for the courage displayed in his 2012 budget proposal. But their definition of "courage" must be different from mine.
It's great to see David Beckmann convince Mark Bittman to join the fast against attempts to cut federal programs that help the poor and the hungry. Bittman's dismissal of the religious element of the effort by Bread for the World and others--"I doubt God will intervene here"--betrays his unfamiliarity with Christian thought. (I'm tempted to send him one of my ELCA "God's work, our hands" fridge magnets.) But thanks to Bittman's involvement, now even the Nation is giving the progressive evangelical effort positive coverage.