Musing about government shut down
Obviously the first and most important point to be made about the possibility of the government shutting down this week is the fact that had Democrats, who held a majority in both the House and Senate last year, done their basic job of passing a budget, this wouldn’t be an impending problem.
Now, unsurprisingly, it has devolved into a political battle pitting the Republicans on the side of cutting spending as their constituency insists upon (and voted for) against Democrats who, failing to do their job last year, now are dragging their feet in the Senate (the House passed a continuing resolution to fund government 46 days ago) and making veto threats from the White House.
Funny, how politics works, isn’t it? Those who didn’t do their job last year or provide any leadership on the subject are now actively working against passage of a stop-gap funding measure and prepared to blame those who are attempting to fix the problem for any government shutdown which might occur.
While he had every opportunity to weigh in on the budget last year when Democrats didn’t pass one, now that he sees political advantage in weighing in (he just started his 2012 re-election campaign remember) we finally hear from President Obama:
“What we can’t be doing is using last year’s budget process to have arguments about abortion; to have arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency; to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political difference between the two parties. That’s what the legislature is for, is to have those arguments, but not stuff it all into one budget bill.”
Now he takes a stand. When his party failed to pass a budget last year? Crickets. Apparently fully prepared to live on continuing resolutions during the tenure of the Democratic controlled Congress, now he’s putting his foot down. Instead of working to ease the situation and negotiate a settlement that would be acceptable to both parties, he threatens a veto.
“On the issue of a short-term extension, we’ve already done that twice. We did it once for two weeks, then we did another one for three weeks. That is not a way to run a government.
No kidding. But where in the heck was the president last year when Congress failed in its duty and set this predicament up? The government has been working on “short-term extensions” since October of last year. Now, suddenly, they’re a problem.
I don’t disagree with Obama’s points, I just am disgusted by the disingenuousness of the argument. Not that it surprises me, however, at all.
But when government shuts down, and the blame game begins, remember the reason that such a situation even developed in the first place. Congressional nonfeasance and lack of presidential leadership.