To listen to Republican leaders, Democrats refuse to negotiate. Speaker of the House John Boehner and other Republicans have repeated this claim ad nauseum over the past couple weeks.
Here's one example:
Refusing to negotiate is an untenable position. - House Speaker John BoehnerI would be mad too if Democrats refused to negotiate.
The question I'd ask first though, especially if I were the media, is have Democrats refused to negotiate?
Fortunately, it's not difficult to look at Congressional history.
Here's a quick summary:
|January 2013||Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compromises on filibuster reform designed to avoid a small minority using Senate rules to gridlock legislation.||Link|
|Feb. 13, 2013||President Obama calls on Congress to work together instead of manufacturing a crisis.||Link|
|Feb. 17, 2013||Committee chairs try to reassert the regular process for budget negotiations.||Link|
|Mar. 7, 2013||Committee chairs (Patty Murray (D)- Senate, Paul Ryan(R)-House) submit competing proposals.||Link|
|Mar. 13, 2013||"The best course now is to let the budgets go, get them into [a] conference [committee] and try to reconcile the two," Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said the president advised senators during the closed-door meeting.||Link|
|Mar. 23, 2013||The Senate passes a budget proposal. After the House passes its budget, regular order dictates that both chambers name members of a conference committee to resolve the difference.||Link|
|Apr. 11, 2013||Representative Ryan and Senator Murray issued a joint statement calling for a conference committee on the House and Senate budget resolutions.
This is the agreement. Yay! They're going to negotiate a budget in the traditional manner.
|Apr. 17, 2013||It takes Ryan less than a week to reverse his position on holding a conference committee. The new House Republican position is that there has to be a deal before any talks begin. That way, they can dictate what the conference committee can actually talk about before it even meets.||Link|
|Apr. 23, 2013||Harry Reid requests unanimous consent for naming a conference committee on the budget. Senator Toomey blocks this request.||Link|
|Apr. 24, 2013||"After several years of complaining that Congress didn't have a budget, Republicans are now the ones holding up the 2014 budget process.
Both the GOP-led House and Democrat-controlled Senate have passed plans, but House Speaker John A. Boehner seems in no hurry to create the official conference committee that would hammer out differences."
|May 4, 2013||''Regular order!'' That has been the demand of House Republicans for three years, insisting on a return to the distant days when Congress actually passed budget resolutions and spending bills, instead of paying for the government through shortsighted stopgap measures.
"Senate Democrats have done nothing," Speaker John Boehner said on ''Meet the Press'' on March 3, referring to the Senate's failure to pass a budget since 2009. ''It's time for them to vote. It's time for us to get back to regular order here in Congress.'' The two chambers could try to resolve their differences in a conference committee, he said, ''and maybe come to some agreement.''
But a funny thing happened a few days after those comments were made: the Senate agreed to that demand and actually passed a budget. Suddenly all those Republican cries for regular order stopped. Suddenly the House has no interest in a conference with the Senate. Instead, Congress is preparing for yet another budget crisis.
|May 6, 2013||Majority Leader Harry Reid requests unanimous consent for naming a conference committee on the budget. Senator Cruz blocks this request.||Link|
|May 7, 2013||Senator Murray requests unanimous consent for naming a conference committee on the budget. Senator McConnell blocks this request.||Link|
|May 8, 2013||Senator Warner requests unanimous consent for naming a conference committee on the budget. Senator McConnell blocks this request.||Link|
|May 8, 2013||“In a ‘regular order’ world, we would begin to sit down in an open, transparent way and work toward a compromise. But unfortunately at this point the Republicans are objecting.” - Patty Murray||Link|
I think you can see where this is going. For the record, Senate Democrats tried fifteen more times to start up the regular order negotiating process from May 9th to October 2nd.
If you look at Congressional history, the Republican claim that "Democrats refuse to negotiate" is quite simply a lie.
In late April/early May, Republicans decided that they had no interest in negotiating through the regular budgetary process. They decided instead they were going to shutdown the government and play the 'hostage' card.
And now they're saying Democrats won't negotiate?
I'm sorry but given recent history, Republican claims no one will negotiate with them are little more than talking points.
I would be mad if Democrats refused to negotiate.
How do you negotiate though with a party that tells you they want to negotiate, then refuses to negotiate, then turns around and says you won't negotiate?