Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 95 E300
Location: Inside my head
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
For example, each office proposes a budget and writes a narrative and each sends a it upstream where at each level, the carefully crafted pages of justifications get pared to a paragraph each and then to the department secretary where each paragraph gets pared to a single bullet. They take all of the justifications and send it to OMB (Old Mean Bastards) who collect the bullets into a smaller number of bullets and write a paragraph for each reformed (and re-budgeted) submission. Then they send it to the House, which has also been listening to constituencies and fellow Congressmen and senators and special interest groups. Their staffers argue with the OMB staffers over which bullets get funded and which ones don't. House staffers from both parties (yes Virginia, they do work on budgetary legislation together) then write the legislation to suit their masters and placate OMB. They confer with the Senate (but are jealous of the House's budgetary prerogatives so they don't spend a great deal of staff time listening to the Senate). Then the House Committees modify and pass out of committee the various bits which are then voted on by the House and sent to the Senate, which has it's own wish list that they wish most especially, that the House would pay more attention to. They negotiate among themselves by caucuses and committe and then send a marked-up bill back to the House. The House whines petulantly and complains that the senate has over-reached and then goes into conference committees over the legislation with the Senate and House leadership, in which the staffers do the work and the Congressman fuss in front of TV's like they do something important for a living. Occasionally they will send OMB some info or request OMB input.
Eventually legislation is extruded from this process and sent to the president for his signature. Then the money is poured back down the rat-hole to the low-lifes way down the food chain who have to make sense of the legislation by resolving their budget requests with the cryptic pronouncements of their lords and masters.
That's how it worked in every administration since Thomas Jefferson. Washington tried a more imperial approach and was severely pissed at how his input was greeted by the squabbling plebians on the hill.
Any resemblance to Civics is an accident of poor management.