Politics: Fear of shutdown politics prompts House to surrender to Harry Reid yet again
Published by: Herman Cain on Sunday September 21st, 2014
If you were scared to death about the possibility that the government might shut down at some point before the end of the year, I guess you can start celebrating. The House has passed the latest in a series of continuing resolutions that are not really budgets, but authorize the spending of money necessary to fund the operation of the government through the end of the year.
This is a great relief for Republican political strategists, who fear nothing more than the possibility of another “shutdown” drama in which the media and the Democrats jump on Republicans for being such obstructionist clods and denying the American people the benevolence of their caretakers in Washington.
But when you step back and consider what this means, it is not good news at all.
Democrats stopped passing real budgets in 2010, in part because they had claimed the previous year that their $862 billion “stimulus package” was a one-time emergency thing, and they didn’t want to produce a document that advertised to all the world that they intended to make this a permanent addition to each year’s federal spending. Hiding behind continuing resolutions made it easier to get away with this charade. It was a complete abdication of their constitutional responsibilities, but since when do they care about that? It benefited them, and that is all they ever care about.
But it also proved to be politically useful in other ways, especially after Republicans took back control of the House in 2011. Harry Reid does not engage in any sort of compromise when it comes to federal spending. The Senate passes the spending bill Reid wants, and House Republicans can take it over leave it. There is no such thing as the two sides sitting down and working out a budget both sides can live with, like happened during the first six years of the Reagan Administration when Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats controlled the House. That’s not how Harry Reid plays.
Reid simply makes it known that House Republicans can pass his continuing resolution authorizing the funding of the government, or they can endure endless browbeating at the hands of the national media as the government shuts down and the media takes its cue from Obama and Reid to put all the blame on Republicans.
If Republicans refuse to play ball with Reid in any way, or insist on any changes, he simply throws up his hands and has his staff churn out the press releases condemning Republicans for the “shutdown.”
This is not how it should work. When the House and the Senate don’t agree on a budget, one side is under no obligation to always capitulate to the other. The House can just as rightly say that Reid needs to come to the table and work with them. Both chambers were duly elected, after all, and both have equal constitutional authority to sign off on spending bills.
But in reality, Reid has the power here because Republicans fear the news media, whereas Reid knows that they will embrace whatever storyline he wants them to embrace. Because of this, it is not really doing the nation much good to have elected a Republican majority in the House, at least on the matter of spending. The House is not a co-equal chamber because Senate leaders simply do whatever they want with no fear of accountability whatsoever, whereas the leaders of the House cower in the corner for fear the media will beat them up if they assert themselves.
So no, it’s really not good news that this continuing resolution passed. Maybe it makes you happy that there won’t be a politically damaging “shutdown showdown” that robs Republicans of the more advantageous messaging they need to win in November. But how bad have things gotten when our side already controls one house of Congress and, because of fear, we can do absolutely nothing with it?