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GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: What Shuts Down? Who’s to Blame?

Posted by FactReal on April 7, 2011


Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. And virtually every essential government agency would remain open. That’s the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn’t shut down. (April 5, 2011)
So it remains that the parties stand at an impasse, leaving the government teetering on the brink of a partial shutdown. But despite President Obama’s apocalyptic warnings, a shutdown is not the catastrophe he paints it to be. Even if Congress and the president fail to reach agreement, Social Security checks are still mailed, and essential services continue, including military, law enforcement, VA care, and others.

During the 1995 shutdown, approximately 800,000 federal workers were initially furloughed. Given the growth of the federal workforce since then, today that number would likely be higher. Still, that leaves most of the federal workforce and military still working. In fact, the Department of Defense, power grid maintenance, border patrol, Coast Guard, air traffic controllers, inpatient and emergency outpatient medical care, and other vital services continued. But, in anticipation of a partial shutdown, Congress should immediately pass a Department of Defense appropriations bill to ensure that our military is fully funded in any scenario. Speaker Boehner is pushing for just that…

Last year, when Democrats were majority in the U.S. Senate and the House, they failed to pass a budget.
Government shut-down blame game – some facts:
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 [the Democrats] 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.

Remarkably, a partial shutdown is a reality simply because the Democratic leadership is drawing a line in the sand over a few billions of dollars in cuts, what Fox News’ Megyn Kelly accurately described as “teaspoons in the ocean.” The United States is $14.3 trillion in debt, and according to a CBO report, the federal government ran a budget deficit of $223 billion in February. Meanwhile, the Senate sits on its hands over cuts that amount to a few days of deficit spending. Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains:

With all the focus on legislative tactics, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the battle is between the modest spending cuts passed by the House and Senator Reid’s shamefully puny cuts. The issue is not whether the course of government will change dramatically. It won’t. President Obama and congressional Democrats already drove spending rapidly higher. Even under the House bill, spending would continue to grow substantially. This battle is only the first of many.

[…] The fact remains that the [Republican-led] House passed a budget, the [Democrat-led] Senate has not, and Democratic leadership is posturing for political gain. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Perhaps if President Obama were more willing to lead in 2010, when his party first abdicated its responsibility to pass a budget, Congress and the American people would not be where we are today – staring a partial government shutdown straight in the eye, all while trillions of dollars in debt await future generations. Majority Leader Reid and President Obama now must put politics aside, agree to modestly cut spending…

The big picture: United States is $14.3 trillion in debt. The federal government ran a budget deficit of $223 billion in the month of February alone!
So, what are Congress and President Obama doing about it?  The House of Representatives [where Republican are  majority] took the first step to get deficit spending under control by passing a Continuing Resolution to fund the government for the rest of the year for $61 billion less than 2010…this cut was equal to about one week’s worth of deficit spending in the month of February

The Senate [where Democrats are majority] is now about to try to pass a bill to fund the government for the rest of the year…Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposes to cut spending a total of $4.7 billion…That’s about equal to one-half of one day’s deficit spending in February

[T]he fact remains the House acted; the Senate failed.  The House passed cuts equal to the deficit for a week in February. Senator Reid proposes a mere half-day’s worth. The blame for a shutdown would lie plainly at the feet of Senator Reid, who as Majority Leader failed to move a bill, and at the feet of President Obama, who following the precedent of his recent budget submission once again simply failed to lead.


One Response to “GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: What Shuts Down? Who’s to Blame?”

  1. […] GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: What Shuts Down? Who’s to Blame? […]

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