Government Spending

Don't Forget to Blame Senate Democrats and Harry Reid for any Government Shutdown


Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has a column up at USA Today discussing the brinkmanship involved in last-minute budget negotiations. Here's the lede:

So the Republican-controlled House of Representatives—with the help of a couple of Democrats—has voted to defund ObamaCare. In response, President Obama, declaring that the Republicans are "trying to mess with me," has accused the House of trying to shut down the government.

But the government will only shut down if Obama vetoes the budget that comes to his desk. The House budget funds everything except for implementation of the Affordable Care Act better known as ObamaCare. In truth, by refusing even to negotiate with the House leadership and threatening to veto a budget that doesn't fit his own specifications, it is Obama, not the House of Representatives, who is putting the country at risk of a government shutdown.

Read the whole thing, in which Reynolds goes on to note "Obama will negotiate with Iran or Syria, but not with the House Republicans." Ouch.

There's no doubt that Obama—like all presidents and most members of Congress—has an outsized ego. But I think Instapundit only has things one-third right. Sure, the president is stubborn and selfish. But so is the Republican House, which features a majority of supposedly small-government enthusiasts who find it tough as hell to ever cut year-over-year spending (especially when such a development has the chance of actually becoming law). And then there's the other one-third of the budget negotiating quagmire: The Do-Nothing Senate.

Whatever else you can say about the House of Representatives and President Obama, at least these folks have consistently produced spending documents in rough approximation to legal requirements (to be sure, Obama's latest offering, showed up two months late and $5.2 trillion long when it came to increasing deficits over the next decade).

In contrast and despite a solid one-party majority, the Senate has passed exactly one budget in the past four years and in most of those years, they didn't even produce the necessary document as mandated by law. Instead, we were treated to journalistic valentines to former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the guy in charge of the Senate budget wonkery, by a pliant press.

As my colleague Ed Krayewski reminds us in his essential survey of "4 Washington Scandals That Still Matter," the Democrats couldn't pass a budget even when they controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House. It's been the Senate all along that's been the problem, at least since Sen. Harry "We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year," Reid (D-Nev.) has been running that godawful show.

If Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is being held captive by the "wacko bird" wing of the GOP (thank heavens for small favors, at least when it comes to spending, military adventurism, and civil liberties issues), then surely Senate Majority Leader Reid is being held captive by something—his president? the all-but-extinct species known as Bluedog Democrats? his own incompetence, zombie-like leadership skills, and well-documented lack of charisma?—that has been far more detrimental to passing a goddamn budget than anything Obama and Boehner can muster.

So when blame gets passed around for credit downgrades, government shutdowns, rising health insurance costs, and everything else on God's green Earth, make sure to save a big space for the Senate Democrats who have done so much to drive the country into whatever ditch we've been in for lo these many years.

NEXT: A.M. Links: 500,000 Children Could Lose Insurance Coverage Because of Obamacare, President Pledges Aid to Kenya After Mall Attack, 59 Percent of Non-Defense Employees Exempt From Any Government Shut Down

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  1. But the government will only shut down if Obama vetoes the budget that comes to his desk.

    Yeah, Katie Couric – or whatever talking hairdo is reading the teleprompter on network news these days – is going include that in their report on why Granny is about to be eating cat food.

    1. I’m trying to imagine a world where the media spin for the sequester was: “Obama and the Democrats threaten to shutdown government unless the government increases spending.”

    2. Reid and Obama knew exactly what they were doing: they were using the CR process because the stimulus had added $800B to the baseline. That way, the Stimulus spending got rolled forward into each subsequent year’s baseline–meaning that the real cost of the Stimulus was closer to $3T. That was the plan all along.

  2. Sheesh Nick, way to disrupt the narrative.

  3. Blame? Why the hell would I blame anybody for shutting the government down? I’m planning to throw a party.

    1. I remember an editorial cartoon in the ’90s when the government shut down twice within a year. Some guy was making the statement, “You’d think after they did it twice they’d learn and keep it shut down for good.”

  4. You are just Anarchists and Evilmongers!

    /Harry Reid

    1. Poopy head


  5. They have been teasing us with a shutdown for years now, the bastards. I could use a few weeks’ vacation.

    1. I’m paid by AWCF. We were furloughed for fairness, but we’re not sure how it’s handled for the shutdown, since our funds aren’t appropriated.

      1. Our contract is funded in advance, but we’re not allowed to work without our government overlords being here, so if there’s a shutdown, I don’t see how we contractors can continue to work without government oversight. Anyway, I want to go back to VT for another couple weeks, so…..

        1. Sounds about right.

          My issue is that I have leave scheduled starting on the 8th. Even if I am catagorized as “exempt” from the shutdown furlough, I can’t be paid for taking leave. I’m taking leave to go to a wedding, in which I’m the Best Man.

          I think my friend might be a bit disappointed if I tell him, “can’t make it…”

  6. Is it just me, or has Reasonable gone a little apeshit this morning?

    1. It’s a holdover from last night.

    2. Chrome in general is not taking Reason very well. I’m getting a lot of weird things happening. Some people’s comments are blocked out even when I turn off reasonable.

      I’m currently running H&R on Firefox without reasonable.

    3. Fix:

      1. Delete the ^s reference in your Reasonable filter. That will allow you to see everyone’s posts.

      2. The history box expands across the screen with a bunch of garbage in it because someone in the last 5 posts has their moniker associated with an email (yes, Kristen, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM ;-)). It changes back to normal when other posters push the offender out of the 5 most recent comments. SO, to get back to normal, everyone using an email needs to change it to a website (preferably midget porn) or nothing.

      That is all.

      1. ^LIFE SAVER

        I was about to quit Reason for good and start my search for that elusive libertarian girl to love me… Well, I guess that can wait.

        1. There are libertarian girls? Ones that haven’t had sex change operations?

          (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

      2. I put an awesome web site in my profile and turned off my email display. But it ain’t showing the awesome Ron Swanson tumblr I linked to and now my Gravatar go bye-bye. Bugger.

        1. Yes it is. Same thing happend to me yesterday. I think it takes a little while to update. You are good now. Fuck Yeah Ron Swanson.

          My gravatar died too. It took me an hour to figure out how to make that work the first time and now I’ll need to refigure it out, as I NEVER retain that shit.

  7. I shouted out “Who shut down the government?”
    When, after all, it was you and me!

  8. OT: what the happened to the mobile version of HyR? It was working last week. Now it’s just the desktop version at a large magnification with much of the page off screen. No word wrap to screen size at all.

    1. Also, fuck you, cut spending.

  9. Interested to see if the numb nuts in the House actually carry out the threat. Mike Church thoroughly documented lots o’ historical precedent and procedures to fund everything EXCEPT the PPACA (or anything else the House whose not to fund….NSA, anyone? anyone?). Legally.

    See “Boland Amendment” (Iran-Contra Scandal) for an example.

    Now, whether the rest of the government would comply with such a law, well, I think we know the answer, but would be fun to find out.

    My money is on the House R’s to find some way to fold and pussy out.

  10. Why should the Senate pass another budget when the House refuses to take the previous one to joint committee?

    1. Because spending bills originate in the House, and if the House doesn’t take a Senate bill to a joint committee but passes a new one instead, that’s the House’s prerogative.

      Plus, I love the “yet another budget”. What budget bill has passed the Senate and is waiting on the House, exactly? I thought we were talking about CRs, not budgets.

  11. Ugh, really? It seem ridiculous to refer to the Democrat’s senate majority as “solid” when it’s obvious that much of the problem is an inability to force cloture.

    And you may approve of those filibusters, but to act like it’s a mystery why so little is getting done in the Senate is just silly.

    1. They can pass tax and spend bills by majority.

      1. Yes, but only once it’s under consideration, and the motion to consider can still be filibustered even for taxation and spending bills. Kind of like we’re seeing right now with the House CR which will have to pass a cloture vote on Wednesday.

        1. If the majority can’t compromise enough to peel a few moderate pubbies off the pack then they don’t DESERVE to pass anything. That’s politics 101 and everybody in the senate is currently failing.

          And I’m rooting for them to fail. Since my political coming-of-age in the mid-to-late 80s there have been several major government shutdowns and NONE of them have EVER affected me or anybody I know in any way whatsoever.

          Wonder what would happen if this government that we spend several trillion a year on shut down and nobody noticed (a la the “sequester” that nobody much has noticed)? Let’s find out.

    2. Uh, when was the last time a Senator on Team Blue jumped ship on something major?

  12. This is all about allowing Senators from Red State to vote “present” on issues that matter. The Dems are loath to make their Red State senators vote to keep Obamacare. That is why they are so angry the Republicans are doing this.

    The larger picture is how this whole things shows the insane culture of Washington. Obamacare is a complete disaster. Any rational organization would realize this and delay its implementation and try to fix it. Instead Washington and its court media, including writers for this magazine, constantly tell us that the Democrats can’t be expect to delay or defund their “big achievement”. That ladies and gentleman is Washington culture in a nutshell. You do shit that can be put on a resume as an “achievement” with no regard to what that something is or whether it actually works or is worth doing.

    See, the Democrats did something. And to Washington and people like Suderman who are have been absorbed into the hive there, it is totally unreasonable to expect the Democrats to walk away from their big achievement. The fact that the bill is horrible and is about to do untold damage to the country doesn’t matter. It is their achievement. The Democrats’ big OER bullet.

    1. It is really insane when you think about it. In a sane world Obama and the Dems would be begging the House to delay Obamacare so they could try and fix the worst things about it and the story would be all about if the Republicans are so cynical they will do harm to the country in order to stick the Dems with the blame. Instead, in the insane world that is Washington, the story is about how cynical and evil the Republicans are for wanting to stop all of this harm from happening to the country.

    2. Obamacare is a complete disaster.

      Your desperation is apparent.

      If it becomes a disaster when effective the GOP will dominate the midterms and into 2016.



        You fucked up your talking points again you retard. No one is defending Obamacare anymore. The talking point is how the evil Republicans want to destroy the government.

        My God your handlers much hate you more than we do. There isn’t a single talking point you can’t fuck up. Wow.

    3. What does OER mean?

      1. Sorry. Officer Evaluation Form. It is what you get in the military. And on them are bullets with various wonderful things you have done throughout the year.

        So Obamacare is really the only thing Obama has to put on a Presidential OER.

        1. Officer Evaluation REPORT

          Now they are called OPRs (at least in the AF). Officer Performance Reports. They changed this back in the late 90s, because changing the names of shit is how you get promoted in the military.

          1. I know it is a report. I just never write out the acronym managed to fuck it up.

        2. *pictures an ammo belt with your accomplishments engraved on the shell casings*

          1. They are utterly mundane. And worse, the scale is totally inflated. You could murder your CO and your resulting OER probably wouldn’t read that badly to the lay person. They are written in a secret code few people understand and no one seems to understand completely. The idea is that your rater can be totally screwing you and you have no idea. It is a fucked up system.

      2. I see, I think, thanks:…..cord.shtml

        That acronym is not going to catch on with the general public.

  13. Of course the Democrats – those in the Senate and House and Obama himself deserve plenty of blame for all of it.

    But the odds of the main stream media doing anything other than slavishly repeating the Democrat side’s talking points on it are aproxmiately 0.0%

  14. I don’t know about anyone else here but I’m certainly well aware of the Republican talking point du jour, a rather feeble attempt but apparently the best they have: despite their preschool tantrums and philosophical absolutism–the only thing getting in the way of governing responsibly–they’re just going to call it the Obama-Reid shutdown. Like, just call it that.]

    “Job creators” and “death panels” this ain’t, but these aren’t your fathers Republicans.

    1. That’s only a C+ grade trolling effort at best.

      1. Yeah, its like he is tired and not trying as hard any more. This looks like copypasta from a second tier leftie site.

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