Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The kids in the hall

You cannot make someone negotiate with you. Anyone who has ever dealt with a child knows that.

The governor has said all session, "Bring me a budget and we'll talk." The best the Republican House could do today was bring up the governor's plan, and say, "We don't want that." Not a surprise and frankly not very good theater.

Well, what do you want, kids? Like kids everywhere, they're not sure yet; they just know they don't want what you want.

Not only are they unsure of what they want, there's another bunch of kids down the hall in the Senate who have to be agreed with first before they can bring anything to the governor. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the middle of the last week of the (regular) session. The likelihood that the Republican leadership is going to bring in anything considered and comprehensive is very small.

The kids in the Senate aren't behaving any better:

During an afternoon press gaggle, the Republicans repeated their complaints that talks with Dayton's department heads have made little or no progress.

"We have six days left and have a great deal of work to do, but the work can get done if the governor will step up, step into his leadership role and engage on this budget discussion," Koch said.

She said she believed the budget bills will begin moving toward final Senate approval within "a day or two. We need to start moving. We're running out of time." [Gee, no kidding, Amy!]

Update: Demonstrating that bad blood isn't merely flowing between Dayton and the Republican leadership, Senate Democrats late in the day blasted their GOP counterparts of bad-faith, amateurish, negotiating over budget bills.

"It's hardly negotiating," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, saying committee chairmen haven't been given the power to negotiate with department heads -- an accusation the GOP earlier levelled [sic] at the commissioners.

"It's so ridiculous, such a charade," said Sen. Scott Dibble.

"They're going to have to compromise," Bakk said "I would say it's their move and for anyone to think that it's not doesn't understand how the give-and-take process of negotiation needs to play out."

The Republicans, you will remember, bragged how about how far ahead they were of anything the DFL ever did in putting together a budget. (It was outlined in Aaron's post that was lost in the Great Blogger Burp.) And earlier in the session, the Republicans didn't even really want to hear from the commissioners on budget matters.

Sen. Koch says that the governor should step up and into his leadership role; she really means cave in to the Republican leadership and help her out. He has already offered compromise; it is perhaps dawning on the in-over-her-head Koch and the Deputy that the whole thing is going to come crashing down around them shortly. In spite of their puffery, the end of the session has been managed badly.

Strictly amateur: that sums it up pretty well.

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