I find it interesting that Democrats and others are already trying to blame Republicans for a government shutdown that has not even occurred. Regular broadcast news programs this evening listed what federal services might stop if there is no federal budget or continuing resolution (CR-keeps government running at same funding levels as this year) is not passed by the end of this fiscal year (September 30). This is just another example of the Repeat-it-often-enough-people-will-believe-it strategy often used by the Obama administration.
If the Republicans’ ultimate goal was to shut down government, they would not have voted on any budget measures until a day or two before the end of this fiscal year. Instead, they passed a one month CR today, 10 days ahead of the deadline. The problem for Democrats is that the Republican-controlled House attached a provision that specifically says no federal funds can be spent on “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act).
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows 52% of Americans want to get rid of Obamacare. The majority in the House of Representatives has listened to the will of their constituents and has been trying to repeal Obamacare for many months. With health insurance exchanges scheduled to start October 1 (despite software to determine a person’s eligibility not working yet), opportunities to stop Obamacare are almost gone. So Republicans are using a serious, extreme method.
President Obama has said he would veto any such legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that he will block any vote on the defunding provision. Most analysts say the Senate will strip the defunding language from the bill, pass the CR and return the bill to the House for concurrence.
Democrats have been extremely nasty in their comments on this issue. They have used language that implies unlawful actions by Republicans and have insisted this will absolutely lead to a government shutdown.
If I remember my government lessons from high school, what the Republicans are doing – in the chamber they control – is exactly what they should do. Each chamber crafts legislation according to what they think is needed. If it passes, it goes to the other chamber. If it does not pass there, it is dead (or might be reintroduced in new form). Or the second chamber may pass a modified version. If that happens, the bill goes to a conference committee (made up of members of both the Senate and House) to try to find a compromise that will allow both chambers to pass the bill.
So according to Congressional procedure, what happens to the bill now is up to the Senate. If Senator Reid takes actions that delay the passage of a CR to fund the government, any shutdown would be his fault. It is hypocritical for him to blame anyone else since he uses Senate/Congressional rules to gain an advantage whenever he can (like his closed-door dealings in 2009 to pass Obamacare in the first place).
In the past, Senators and Representatives accepted this give and take without insulting comments, waiting for a time when their political party could gather enough votes to pass legislation they wanted. The Obama administration has created a political climate in DC that vilifies anyone who does not agree with their policies. And Senator Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi seem to especially relish being the ones to blast the opposition.
Do not let their rhetoric confuse you. Whether Obamacare is defunded or not, it is possible to deal with the government funding issue in the next 10 days unless someone purposely delays for political gain.