That Good Ol’ Patronage System!

By John J. O’Grady, President, Local 704, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE Local 704), Chicago, Illinois

The word “patronage” is derived from the Latin word patronus for patronPatronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (patron) and his client.  The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium.   Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client’s candidacy for political office.  In return, the client was expected to offer his services to his patron as needed.

The Federal bureaucracy in the years after the Civil War involved extensive patronage in selecting officials and supervising their work.  That system had evolved in the early nineteenth century, and relied on the well-known political adage, “to the victor belong the spoils.”  When a Democrat was elected President, all of the Republican appointees were swept out of office, and vice versa.  The idea of rotation in office caused by election of a candidate from the other party was thought to be “democratic.” Continue reading “That Good Ol’ Patronage System!”

Budget compromise clears Senate procedural hurdle

Budget compromise clears Senate procedural hurdle

By Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 12:13 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
 Watch this video

Washington (CNN) — A federal budget compromise that already passed the House cleared a key procedural hurdle on Tuesday in the Senate, increasing the likelihood it will win final Congressional approval this week.

President Barack Obama has signaled his support for the plan worked out by the budget committee leaders in each chamber that would guide government spending into 2015 to defuse the chances of another shutdown such as the one that took place in October.

Tuesday’s vote overcame a Republican filibuster attempt that required 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to proceed on the budget measure. The count was 67-33, with a dozen Republicans joining the 55 Democrats and independents in support of the plan.

Final approval in the Senate requires a simple majority of 51 votes. The budget plan easily passed the House last week on a 332-94 vote. Continue reading “Budget compromise clears Senate procedural hurdle”

Budget deal now has enough votes to pass Senate

The Fix

Budget deal now has enough votes to pass Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) appears to have the votes needed to push a budget agreement over the finish line. (AP)
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) appears to have the votes needed to push a budget agreement over the finish line. (AP)

This item has been updated.

A bipartisan budget agreement already passed overwhelmingly by the House now appears to have sufficient support to survive a key procedural test vote in the U.S. Senate later this week.

Final passage of the bill with a simple majority of senators doesn’t appear in doubt — but the legislation written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) must first clear a procedural hurdle to end formal debate and proceed to final passage.

Supporters must garner at least 60 votes to proceed to final passage of the legislation. Assuming all 55 members of the Senate Democratic caucus vote “yes,” they will need at least five Republicans to join them. Continue reading “Budget deal now has enough votes to pass Senate”

Dems threaten budget deal

Dems threaten budget deal

Lauren Schneiderman

By Vicki Needham, Mike Lillis and Bernie Becker – 12/11/13 05:15 PM EST

 

The budget deal worked out by House and Senate negotiators is on the verge of unraveling over the exclusion of federal unemployment benefits, several leading Democrats warned Wednesday.

The lawmakers are outraged by a GOP move to add the Medicare “doc fix” to the package but not a continuation of unemployment benefits — a strategy they say could sink the entire package by scaring away Democratic votes.

Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Sandy Levin (Mich.) said the move creates a “new dynamic” undermining Democratic support for the plan announced Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).  Continue reading “Dems threaten budget deal”

Ryan deal gets positive review at closed-door GOP conference

December 11, 2013, 12:15 pm

Ryan deal gets positive review at closed-door GOP conference

By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman

Greg Nash

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) won positive reviews from skeptical House Republicans on Wednesday morning for the budget deal he negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as senior lawmakers predicted a strong vote as early as Thursday.

While some conservatives criticized the deal, lawmakers said there was little sign of the kind of revolt that has derailed Republican fiscal plans in the past. The House is likely to vote on the plan Thursday, and because party leaders expect significant support from Democrats, they are not sweating defections from the right flank.

“We feel very good about where we are with our members,” Ryan told reporters after pitching his plan to lawmakers in a private party meeting. Continue reading “Ryan deal gets positive review at closed-door GOP conference”