National Review reports on plans by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to push small continuing resolutions (CRs) funding a bunch of junk at current levels. The idea, apparently, is to drive home the notion that the GOP didn't want to shut down the government; it just wanted to defund or delay Obamacare. Here's Lee:
"I think we can do the exact same thing with a number of noncontroversial spending bills that fund aspects of government that Americans overwhelmingly support, Americans acknowledge that we need, and that are completely unrelated to Obamacare."
"My plan, in other words," he continued, "would involve setting up segmented continuing resolutions, appropriations measures that would keep the funding going at current levels to various areas within government, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, military construction, C.J.S., which includes funding for the Department of Justice, the federal court system, the F.B.I., NASA, and the National Weather Service, for example."
Politico says this sort of thing is similar to
a plan frequently suggested by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a freshman conservative firebrand who wants the House to send the Senate "mini" spending bills to chip away at Democratic messaging on people being unable to enter national parks, for example.
Got that? National Parks are rising in importance, as some sort of "essential" government service to Tea Party "wacko bird" Republicans? Here's the AP reporting that the House is in indeed planning to vote on reopening national parks.
Unlike some of my Reason colleagues, I didn't think that Cruz's extended health-care speech was a bad thing or a mistake (indeed, to the extent it was a long-winded peroration on the proper role of government, I think it even was pretty smart). And I don't share fear of a government shutdown that's designed to delay Obamacare and/or reduce federal spending by wringing compromises out of a president who refuses to negotiate because the Democrats had a a majority in 2010.
But in a Washington where 95 percent of Department of Education employees were sent home today because they are "non-essential," I'd think twice about simply moving to restore pre-shutdown funding to the government. It would be nice to dust off actual budget proposals and start talking about what the government should do and how much (or how much little) it should spend in pursuit of those goals.
What sort of teachable moment is it when freaking Republican "anarchists" (Harry Reid's term) are tripping over themselves to restore full funding for the Depts. of Interior, Educatiion, Commerce, and Labor? Or blithely re-upping the Transportation Security Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FCC?
It's teaching a lesson, that's for sure, and it's one about how different Republicans are from libertarians, especially when it comes to determining how we should be spending. And from the American people, too, 76 percent of whom think the government already spends too much and 70 percent of whom oppose raising the debt ceiling.