My regular readers will know that I am not one to play the partisan red team / blue team game. I don't reflexively blame everything on the Democratic Party nor lend my uncritical support to the Republican Party, for which I often have more harsh words than the Democrats. But in the event of a government shutdown, there is one clear party to blame and it's certainly not the Republicans. Here are five reasons why:
1. The Democrats didn't pass a budget before the midterm last year.
It was their responsibility to do so and they didn't. They had a majority in both houses of Congress and their party controlled the White House. Before blaming House Republicans for the current budget battles, remember that the Democrats had their chance to pass a budget last year (and it wasn't even a chance- it was their responsibility, which they didn't do).
2. The Democrats didn't pass a budget during the lame-duck session after the midterm.
Okay, so they didn't want to pass a budget around the usual time because with the midterm elections looming during what was clearly "tea time" in America, they didn't want to do anything that might hurt their delegates from swing states, including pass a budget. At least after the midterm they could have passed one right? Apparently not. Next reason...
3. The House has the power of the purse, not the Senate.
As Stacy McCain quite correctly points out: "No Republican is 'threatening to shut down the government.' The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans. The Senate is controlled by Harry Reid and it is he who, by rejecting the House budget plan, is trying to force a shutdown, which he clearly hopes to blame on the GOP." You see, the House Republicans can actually pass a budget, which was apparently too much for Pelosi to handle. If Reid rejects it because he just doesn't like it, that seems more like the Democrats holding up the budget, not the Republicans.
4. Obama has rejected emergency legislation by House Republicans to extend government functions.
Reports the Wall Street Journal: "As we went to press last night it sure looked as if President Obama wouldn't mind a shutdown and thinks he'd benefit politically from it. The White House announced yesterday that Mr. Obama would veto the House Republican bill for a one-week temporary budget extension that would have kept federal agencies operating."
5. In the Senate, Republican Rand Paul is also trying to avert a government shut down.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is trying to prevent a government shutdown via The Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011. This could go even further than the temporary budget extension by actually introducing incentives for Congress to pass a budget by cutting their pay to 0% and their staff's pay to 50%. Government workers would continue to work at 70% of their salaries until a budget is passed. If the government shuts down, you can't blame Republicans after both House Republicans and Senate Republicans like Rand Paul have offered solutions to prevent that from happening while Congress gets its act together.
More details and analysis of Rand's proposal here.
Bonus Reason: Planned Parenthood
Just because you support a woman's "right to choose" doesn't mean I should have to pay for it. While funding for Planned Parenthood has been a hotly debated part of the budget battle, it's important to remember that there's a difference between having the right to do something and forcing everyone else to pay for it even if they disagree with it.
Editor in Chief, THL
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