Liberals should focus on spending bill, not holding process

What do immigration law and disagreements over health care policy have to do with ensuring federal agencies have enough money to keep their doors open? Virtually nothing.

That did not deter a few Democrats who, for a time, threatened to hold up congressional approval of a major spending bill in order to get their way on immigration and health care policy, among other things.

Fortunately, Democrat leaders recognized the strategy, used many times during the past several years, could backfire this time. One drawback: Failing to approve the spending bill would have jeopardized funding needed by the states to continue providing health insurance for about 8 million children.

Political jockeying over the spending bill has not come to an end. Lawmakers of both parties have agreed merely to postpone it, through a bill that extends funding through Dec. 22.

That will allow Congress to focus on the major tax reform bill already passed by both chambers, but in need of reconciliation of Senate and House of Representatives versions.

Once that work is completed, just days before Christmas, it will be back to the races for the major appropriations bill. Here’s hoping liberal lawmakers focus then on the spending bill, without attempting to use it to extort concessions on other, unrelated matters.