Clearly the United States Senate and the President will be to blame for a partial federal government shutdown if Congress can’t pass a measure to fund the federal government past April 8th. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will get special blame, primarily because he has not allowed a full and fair debate on H.R. 1, the long-term spending measure that that would cut $61 billion from the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. That bill also prevents the funding of elements of ObamaCare, Planned Parenthood and EPA Global Warming regulations.
The President earned a percentage of the blame for his pledge to veto a House passed short-term one week funding measure, further increasing the likelihood of a federal government shutdown. If one studies the legislative history of the battle over funding the discretionary functions of the government for the remainder of the year, the blame clearly shifts to the United States Senate and the President.
Senator Reid’s obstructionism may cause a government shutdown because of his actions to block full and fair consideration of a long term spending measure.
The House ended up with the $61 billion total after a week-long open debate with hundreds of amendments filed and a virtually unlimited amendment process. The House ended a five-day debate with over 40 hours of debate, over 500 amendments filed, over 150 amendments offered and over 100 recorded votes. This is extraordinary for the House, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) should be applauded for this relatively open process to consider a controversial appropriations measure.
The Senate has failed to pass either the Republican or Democrat plan. That bill is stalled and the Senate has yet to schedule further action on the bill. The Senate will shoulder a good portion of the blame and Senate Majority Leader Reid deserves special blame for not scheduling more debate on the long-term spending measure.
The Washington Times reports that the President issued a veto threat on a short-term funding measure virtually insuring a government shutdown.
The White House has vowed to veto the short-term spending bill House Republicans voted on this afternoon that would provide a budgetary “safety net” while the parties work on a long-term deal. Hours later the House passed the safety net bill anyway on a mostly party-line 247-181 vote. Without a short-term extension, lawmakers face two options: either reach a deal on a broad bill to fund the government for the rest of this year, or else have the government shut down as of midnight Friday. “If presented with this bill, the president will veto it,” the White House said in an official statement of policy objecting to the House’s offer. The White House said it was “a distraction from the real work” on reaching a broader agreement.
The House has gone above and beyond the call of duty to pass multiple pieces of legislation to keep the discretionary functions of the federal government open after April 8th. They have passed a long-term measure to fund the government to the end of the fiscal year and a one week short-term measure. Both measures are being opposed by liberal leadership in the Senate and President Obama.