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 patron. Patronage 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!”
By Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 12:13 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
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”
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”
December 11, 2013, 12:15 pm
By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman
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”