The Washington Post

On budget talks, a drinking problem might be a drinking solution

The U.N. General Assembly. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Joseph Torsella, the U.S. ambassador for management and reform, this week prudishly proposed that “negotiation rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone.” But teetotaling hasn’t seemed to do much for our very own gridlocked Congress.

The apparently sober negotiations on Capitol Hill have led to agreement on exactly nothing, with the sequester stalemate as the best (worst?) example. And so we wonder if the United States should learn a little something from the United Nations about how to get things done with a little spirit (or spirits).

Column Lynch reports for Foreign Policy that the rooms where the marathon U.N. budget negotiations took place last December were stocked with all manner of libations. Some say everyone was indulging, while others contend that the principals were sober, while the booze was just there to entertain those who had to wait around.

Either way...

“The drinking, in some cases, is an integral part of the negotiations — a social lubricant offered up to soften an adversary’s negotiating position,” Lynch reports.

Just something for lawmakers pondering the sequester — and for President Obama, who’s hosting Republicans for dinner Wednesday — to think about.

Might as well give it a shot — or three.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.