Shutdown Shenanigans: Who’s Really Responsible?

I read an article today posted by a friend (who happens to hold polar opposite political beliefs from mine) that I found to be slightly misleading and misinformed, to say the least, and I wanted to address it (I’ll post the link to the original article at the end.) I’ll show quotes from the original article in blue, and my rebuttals in white.

  1. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.” 

    Yes, this is true. I don’t think anyone is arguing that this ISN’T true, but therein lies the problem that began this whole mess. The Affordable Care Act was a law that passed all of the hurdles necessary to make it a law. It was voted on and passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and signed into law in March 2010. After the House changed hands later in 2010, questions about it’s constitutionality were raised and taken before the Supreme Court who deemed it constitutional. Then came the 2012 elections… This was the American people’s chance to throw out the Affordable Care Act if they wanted to, yet they didn’t! A resounding majority voted to reelect President Obama, knowing full well that he had signed the Affordable Care Act into law! To put it simply, it met all the requirements necessary to become an official law, which it has been for three years now. But the House Republicans and their Tea-Party allies weren’t finished yet. They tried an astounding 42 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which failed every time. They not only wasted massive amounts of time, but wasted massive amounts of American tax dollars as well, showing a complete lack of respect for the will of the American people. But they still weren’t finished. Which brings me to the next quote of the article:

  2. As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.”

    Again… There are parts of this statement that are true, and parts that are not. The part where the author states “All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives” is absolutely true. According to the constitution they DO have to originate there, but that is as far as it goes. His statement “which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity” is completely off base. They don’t get to unilaterally decide anything. If that were the case, budget concerns would begin and end in the House, but that isn’t what happens. Budgets originate in the House, sure, no one is arguing the validity of that statement, but then they get passed to the Senate for approval, and if the Senate likes what they see, they vote to pass it. If not, they make changes and suggestions and send it back to the House for another vote. Finally, after all of that is finished, it gets sent to the Executive Branch (The President) who approves it. The founding fathers designed our government to run on this system of checks and balances specifically so that no one person or group would have complete control. So to suggest that budget decisions are just the Houses concerns ignores the way our government truly works.

  3. Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.”

    Again, the House of Representatives doesn’t have the right to unilaterally make spending decisions, that is a job that requires all three branches of the government.

  4. But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.”

    This statement is just absolute stupidity… Our government would never work this way. Sure, each branch can decide independently what it wants to do, but that’s where it falls apart. The second they start doing this, without trying to compromise with the other two branches, is when we get what we have; a government shutdown. The author again tries to imply that budgets begin and end in the House (“when exercising the powers specifically granted…”) but the reality of how our government works shows otherwise. If one group continually throws the way our system works into chaos by knowingly including policy issues the other two branches will never agree on in their budget proposals, then they aren’t doing their job. The Republicans tried to repeal and defund the Affordable Care Act using all of the legal means available to them, and since that has failed (42 times), they have resorted to extortion and hostage taking, using the budget and the debt ceiling to force their will on the other two branches, and an American people that voted for President Obama and his signature law.

  5. The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.”

    I’ve addressed the authors insinuations about budgets beginning and ending with the House, so I won’t bother doing so again. His jab at the Affordable Care Act at the end isn’t even worth responding to.

  6. Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.”

    Actually, we can in fact say who wanted to shut down the government, because of the fact that they’ve been saying they want to shut down the government since President Obama was reelected, and that is the Republicans. We can say it’s what they wanted because people like Michelle Bachman stated “We’ve got just what we wanted!” You don’t need to be able to read minds to understand that someone saying “We’ve got just what we wanted!” actually wanted a government shutdown! “But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to.” So, in spite of the authors repeated assertions that budgets are the sole responsibility of the House, he now shifts blame to the Senate. Which is it? Is the budget the sole responsibility of the House, or does it require the Senate to pass? “The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.” This statement should state “except for a law that has passed every legal hurdle required by law and shouldn’t even be a question in budget discussions any longer.” The time for that has long since passed, which is why the Republicans have given up on defunding it and are now basically saying “we just want something! But we don’t know what that is!” So, not only did they start this fiasco by taking the budget and the debt ceiling hostage, they are now keeping the government closed and they don’t even know why they’re doing it OR what they want!

  7. The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?” Again, in spite of his repeated assertions that the budget is the House’s responsibility, he is trying once more to place the blame on the Senate, singling out Harry Reid specifically. He seems to want to play both sides of the table when it comes to the budget discussion, first claiming that the budget is the House’s, then trying to blame the Senate for budget issues.

  8. If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.”

    Oh, back to his “the budget is the House’s” stance. Apparently this man doesn’t know that the Senate can make a counter-proposal to the House’s budget, which is sent back to the House for a new vote (which, incidentally, John Boehner refuses to allow the House to vote on. Hmmm… I wonder why?)

  9. You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want.”

    This is hilarious, seeing how this is exactly what the Republicans are doing. They’ve failed to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act using legal means, so like I’ve said, they’ve resorted to extortion and hostage taking, with no concern as to how it’s affecting our country. They are using budget discussions to force their will (or that of their donors) upon us.

  10. When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie.”

    As I’ve said before, the House doesn’t control the money. Just because budget bills must originate in the House, doesn’t mean the House has dictatorialcontrol over the budget. I don’t know if this man is just ignorant of that fact, or if heis deliberately manipulating information to fit his point of view.

  11. Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown, and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt.”

    Ah, and now the “not raising the debt ceiling is no big deal!” argument. The author claims that Tax money keeps coming in (which is true) and states that “it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt” which is true, unless… And this is a BIG unless… the holders of US treasury bonds make a rush to cash them in (say… because they are afraid America is going to default on its debts?) Then, we won’t, in fact, have enough cash, and we default on our debts, throwing our country (and the world) into another recession (or as some economists are saying “an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression.”) The risks are completely unacceptable. Even the Republican’s primary benefactors have now said this, and guess what!? The Republicans have shockingly (not so shockingly actually) stated they will propose a 6-week extension on the debt ceiling. So, now we are given a glimpse as to what is really motivating the Republican’s decisions. The people that are lining their pockets. Their donors wanted The Affordable Care Act defunded, so the Republicans have done everything in their power, up to and including using our economy as a hostage, to make it so. Now, the donors realize that it isn’t working out quite as they planned, the results of this extortion are actually hurting them too. So they want to back up a bit. They realize that an economic tail-spin will actually affect them as well. So now the puppets…err… the Republicans in the House are changing their tune on the debt ceiling song.

  12. None of this is rocket science. But unless the Republicans get their side of the story out — and articulation has never been their strong suit — the lies will win. More important, the whole country will lose.”

  13. The Republicans have been blasting their story out wherever they can for the last several years, so the fact that the author is implying that they’ve somehow been silent is ridiculous. As for the whole country losing if the “lies win”… The whole country is already losing. This whole shutdown is the country losing on a massive scale. We have thousands of people out of jobs, and countless government organizations that generate money for the country are closed for business. The tax payers are losing an estimated $300,000,000 a day during this shutdown. The Republican’s original reasoning was supposedly because The Affordable Care Act would cost us too much money, but they don’t think twice about a government shutdown (that they wanted) costing the American people $300,000,000 a day, or the countless people out of work? This is no longer about the Affordable Care Act. It’s about 1) What the Republican’s donors want and 2) Republican pride. Can the country really be brought to the brink of disaster because of Republican pride? In any other situation, I would say to call or email your representatives, but the Republicans have shown that they could care less about what the people of this country think. If they cared, the second their popularity in the polls started to dip like it has, they would have rethought their strategy. The fact is, the only option we have now, is to vote these sorry excuses for representatives out in 2014, and hope in the mean time, that our country doesn’t fall to pieces.

Written By: James Garcia (10/10/2013)

Original Article: http://www.newsmagazinenetwork.com/2013100940991/thomas-sowell-who-shut-down-the-government/


2 thoughts on “Shutdown Shenanigans: Who’s Really Responsible?

  1. Amands

    The ACA i already funded which is why the health exchange sites still opened and continue to remain open during this shutdown, Michele Bachmann is a loon and it is scary that there are people like her in Congress. There is a facebook page Christians for Michele Bachmann I am guessing they agree with her that Obamacare is a sign of Armageddon

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