On Tuesday morning, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) had a lively chat about Donald Trump’s budget after a hearing for the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development. Too bad they were sitting near a “hot mic” someone had forgotten to turn off.
The Washington Post reports Reed first complimented her on how she handled the hearing. Collins then confided that she has some major concerns about the Trump administration. Especially when it comes to Team Trump’s proposed budget, which they erroneously call “A Foundation for Greatness” because they think “greatness” is another word for “disaster.”
“I swear,” she declared. The Office of Management and Budget “just went through [the document] and whenever there was ‘grant,’ [a request for funding a line item], they just X it out.” To make matters worse, Susan Collins lamented, Team Trump just Xes things out with no rhyme or reason.
“With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”
Jack Reed agreed and commiserated with his GOP colleague.
“Oof. You know, this thing — if we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed.”
“I know,” she answered. After which Reed pointed out the Department of Defense “is going to be paralyzed, everyone is going to be paralyzed.” And does anyone in the Oval Office know they need to comply with rules set by the 2011 Budget Control Act? Of course not. “I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,” an aggrieved Susan Collins noted.
Jack Reed added that when Donald Trump spoke at the launch of a new aircraft carrier this weekend, he didn’t seem to have a clue.
“‘I want them to pass my budget.’ Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos.”
When Collins said, “right,” her colleague continued, “It’s just — and he hasn’t — not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling.” After Collins agreed and said he made a “good point,” Jack Reed declared:
“You’ve got [Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick] Mulvaney saying we’re going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you’ve got [U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve] Mnuchin saying it’s got to be clean. We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.”
Oh, but wait. It gets even more interesting from here. Susan Collins mentioned how Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) told Corpus Christi radio host Bob Jones if she was a man, he’d challenge her to a duel for her stance against the GOP-run Senate’s travesty of a “healthcare” bill.
Reed answered, “I know. Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? ‘Cause you could beat the s— out of him.” She then snarkily responded, “Well, he’s huge. And he — I don’t mean to be unkind, but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable.”
Referring to a photo taken in 2010, she asked, “Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this Playboy bunny?” A Twitter user helpfully tweeted the photo, which cannot be unseen.
This is the photo Sen. Susan Collins was referring to when she commented on Rep. Blake Farenthold wearing pajamas in 2010. pic.twitter.com/jZYCPC4FYW
— Beatrice-Elizabeth (@MissBeaE) July 25, 2017
The American public was spared the rest of this conversation when someone finally turned off the mic. Because when push comes to shove, budgets are like sausages: We don’t really want to know how they’re made. When The Washington Post asked Susan Collins about the audio footage, she claimed all was well between her and Farenthold:
“Neither weapons nor inappropriate words are the right way to resolve legislative disputes. I received a handwritten apology from Rep. Farenthold late this morning. I accept his apology, and I offer him mine.”
Later, her spokeswoman sent out a statement saying Collins is concerned that Donald Trump’s budget request would eliminate transportation and housing programs “that are critically important to local communities across our country.”
Of course, if Sen. Susan Collins actually cares about the well being of her constituents, she’s in the wrong political party. No matter how much she wants those buckets of campaign cash from the GOP’s billionaire backers, she can’t vote “yes” on a cruel and senseless budget that would get her ridden out of office on a rail.