The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Despite the brokered deal, confusion reigned in the Capitol's hallways. With no text circulating 30 hours after Reid's announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office sent out a half-joking e-mail to reporters last night making light of Democratic accusations that Republicans were blocking the legislation -- since none yet officially existed.
Lawmakers had warned of the complications involved in drafting such a large bill in such a short time. Earlier versions had nearly 800 pages. When House and Senate negotiators sat down Wednesday evening to formalize an agreement, their aides wheeled in drafts of the bill on a cart. That version was dated Feb. 9, before the Senate centrist compromise that gutted more than $100 billion from the legislation.
Piles of paper, bound by metal clips, sat next to the old drafts, representing the new versions of the legislation.