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E.J. Dionne

Dionne: How government can get smart

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For the first time since the modern budget process was initiated more than 40 years ago, the Republican chairs of the Senate and House Budget committees announced that they would not invite the president’s budget director to testify.

What seemed like an act of disrespect for President Obama (something Republicans have reveled in for seven years) may also have reflected frustration that the chairmen, Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, felt when their own leadership often went around them in negotiations on last year’s big budget accord. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a champion of decorum and regular order, is reportedly unhappy over the snubbing of Shaun Donovan, Obama’s budget chief.

In any event, Republicans probably wouldn’t mind if Obama’s new budget were widely ignored. Then, they would not be forced to admit that many of the values that underlie it — the desire for social programs that promote work, the need to use evidence in deciding which programs to fund — are values they extol.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart