…as reported here, that is:
MAJORITY LEADER: All right, why are you holding us up now?
MINORITY LEADER: The usual reason: you’re overspending, you’re doing unConstitutional stuff, and you’re weakening the country.
MAJORITY LEADER: You’ve gone along with us before. I know this bill doesn’t have as many sweeteners in it as previous ones.
MINORITY LEADER: I’ve gone along with you, and advised my caucus to do the same, when the alternative seemed worse – like when you were threatening to withhold all defense spending.
MAJORITY LEADER: A generous defense budget is included this time. Your buddies will get plenty of swag. So what’s the big deal?
MINORITY LEADER: The “big deal” is that if I let you get away with this one, my constituents will crucify me!
MAJORITY LEADER: Oh, I don’t think so. They might primary you, but you have your state party pretty well under your thumb, don’t you?
MINORITY LEADER: Well…
MAJORITY LEADER: I think you do. So in the end, it’ll come down to voting to re-elect you, or to replace you with one of us, won’t it?
MINORITY LEADER: I suppose, but I don’t want the odium for going along with your budget-busting!
MAJORITY LEADER: Alright, enough beating around the bush. What’s your price?
MINORITY LEADER: How dare you!
MAJORITY LEADER: Drop the pretense. You have a price. You just haven’t published it yet.
MINORITY LEADER: My “price,” if you like, is returning my party to majority control of the Senate!
MAJORITY LEADER: And you don’t think this bill would see to that?
MINORITY LEADER: (Stunned, momentarily speechless)
MAJORITY LEADER: By now you should know how the game is played, my friend. We alternate in power, each of us playing the “principled opposition” while in the minority, each of us gradually expanding the federal government’s power and reach, neither of us doing anything that would seriously rock the boat. We’ve already carved the country into blue and red zones, each of them safe for its owner, and a “gray zone” where we pretend to fight for the uncommitted. When we’re in the majority, we pay you guys off with appropriations you can take home to your people, and when it’s your turn you do the same for us. If we haven’t yet made enough provisions for your zone, just tell us how much more you need to go along.
MINORITY LEADER: You’re being awfully candid.
MAJORITY LEADER: This room is soundproof and is regularly swept for bugs and micro-cameras. Why do you think we always meet here?
MINORITY LEADER: I…had wondered.
MAJORITY LEADER: So what’s your price? Which states, which districts, which companies, and how much? The bill can absorb another half-trillion or so…
(Transcript ends here.)