Mary Beth Schneider, writing for the Indy Star, reports that House and Senate leaders are meeting behind closed doors to discuss a solution to the unemployment insurance debacle. The insurance fund has been operating in the red for quite awhile and has been running on loans from the federal government. Last year, lawmakers negotiated a fix to the problem. But, the Senate put that ball back into play, seeking to delay the increased contributions required from employers to make the safety net solvent again. The House responded by escalating things and proposing to repeal the bipartisan, negotiated fix altogether. Speaker Bauer contends that he was tired of taking a bunch of crap from House Republicans for acting responsibly.
The senators and representatives held a private meeting, behind the locked doors of a Statehouse committee room, to forge an agreement. So far that has eluded them, and time is running out. House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, has scheduled tomorrow as the session’s final day, though by law the session can last until March 15.
I’ll just take a paragraph to point out that the legislative body that requires other units of government to operate under open door laws has no problem operating behind closed doors itself. There. That made me feel better.
Ms. Schneider reports that the closed door negotiations are often useful in obtaining compromise instead of posturing. Honestly, I don’t see this one getting solved. If both sides do nothing, the solution negotiated in 2009 kicks in. Business takes its lumps, but maybe we don’t have to keep borrowing from D.C. That should be good news for anyone planning on running against Obama in 2010. After all, you wouldn’t want to take gobs of cash from Washington and then complain about the federal government spending too much.