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!”

US Senate sends budget deal over crucial hurdle

BBC

17 December 2013 Last updated at 17:31 ET

US Senate sends budget deal over crucial hurdle

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 14 November 2013
The US Senate is expected to pass a two-year cross-party budget agreement later this week

A budget bill has passed a US Senate procedural vote, all but guaranteeing its approval this week and lowering the threat of a fresh government shutdown.

In a rare show of cross-party spirit, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the measure 67-33, paving the way for a majority vote later this week.

The two-year budget bill was overwhelmingly approved last week by the US House of Representatives.

President Barack Obama has also backed the budget proposal. Continue reading “US Senate sends budget deal over crucial 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”

GOP and conservative groups: The breakup begins

GOP and conservative groups: The breakup begins

By: Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman
December 12, 2013 07:10 PM EST

Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) leave for Christmas recess after voting for final passage of a two-year budget deal and defense authorization bills. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

A bipartisan group of lawmakers leaves the capitol after the budget vote. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

House Republicans and big money conservative groups are going through a breakup.

Groups like FreedomWorks and Heritage Action demanded Republicans reject Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget deal — or else.

But 169 Republicans approved it anyway Thursday night.

And even though the deal itself was relatively small, it’s still a big moment for House Republicans. Continue reading “GOP and conservative groups: The breakup begins”

Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget deal

Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget deal

Posted by Ezra Klein on December 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

1. The total deal is $85 billion. About $45 billion of that replaces sequestration cuts in 2014. About $20 billion replaces sequestration cuts in 2015. About $20 billion is deficit reduction atop sequestration.

2. The sequestration relief is evenly divided between defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending. The sequester’s cuts to mandatory spending are unaffected.