This week's news-inspired playlist is entirely dedicated to Thursday's budget debate in the Texas House. To set the stage, we begin with Stevie Wonder singing "We Can Work It Out."
You can download Spotify (for free) to fully enjoy the playlist. Or you can follow along using another program. The rest of this week's playlist includes the following:
The fight over how best to appropriate state money was the House's chance to prove that, collectively, it has what the Beastie Boys called the "Skills to Pay the Bills."
Early on, with little debate, House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, added amendments to the budget that strip the University of Texas System regents of significant authority and funding. Billie Holiday takes on the voice of a regent detailing what, if the amendments stand, they get to keep, in the classic song "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
A number of lawmakers aimed to make political points by filing amendments forcing their colleagues to choose between funding different programs. For example, state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, filed an amendment pitting arts funding against aid to volunteer firefighters, inspiring the inclusion of Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice."
In a show of bipartisan cooperation, lawmakers began pulling potentially divisive amendments related to funding for women’s health. So we have Dwight Yoakum singing "Let's Work Together."
Two issues emerged as the day's most newsworthy as the lawmakers nixed both Medicaid expansion and school vouchers. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' "Medicine" and The Beach Boys' "Be True to Your School" reference those issues, respectively.
The Trib's Ross Ramsey noted that, as compared to last session, House members appeared less susceptible to the influence of conservative activisits, who were left, as Alison Krauss & Union Station sing, "On The Outside Looking In."
Ultimately, the budget passed easily. How many representatives voted against it? The Pointer Sisters have the answer in their Sesame Street classic "Pinball Number Count."
Though the final vote came mercifully earlier than anticipated, the debate still took about 12 hours. So we end with Norah Jones singing "The Long Day is Over."