Following Representative Tom Graves, a Republican from Georgia, introduction of a continuing resolution to continue funding the government with the expressed exception of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act onto the House of Representatives the House of Representatives ignored threats from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to kill the legislation in the Senate and from President Obama who promised to veto any legislation which denies his signature healthcare plan further funding. Because of the guarantee that any continuing resolution to finance the government going forward that excludes Obamacare will never get past either the Senate or, should it somehow miraculously be passed by the Senate, past the President without being vetoed there are those, particularly in the mainstream media, who are accusing the House of Representatives Republican Conservatives of grandstanding on a dead issue. The promise that is constantly being touted by the scoffing media is that those Representatives who have pushed defunding Obamacare will back down as they would never risk being blamed for shutting down the government. What is interesting about the entire argument over who gets the blame for shutting down the government over whether or not to fund Obamacare is the previous history, especially the two most prominent shutdowns over funding resolutions. When President Ronald Reagan and the Democrat controlled Congress were at loggerheads over increasing spending and lowering taxes and the Government was shutdown for a fairly short while, the blame was squarely placed on the White House and the obstinate bullheadedness of President Reagan. Then approximately a decade later when President William Jefferson Clinton was contesting over the budget in particular with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and they refused to find a middle ground, the government was again closed in a shutdown and the media placed the entire blame on the fact that Speaker Gingrich was obstinately refusing to work towards any agreement with President Clinton who was without any blame for the situation. So, one thing we can be totally assured of should the government end up shutdown, the blame will be placed squarely on Representative Tom Graves and his fellow Conservatives for their refusal to pay the government’s debts, especially paying for previously passed legislation which the media will claim they have no right to prevent its funding.
The only problem with that line of thinking is that it ignores that the Constitution states plainly that the House of Representatives controls the purse of the government and through this control are empowered to defund any item, department, enforcement of legislation or anything else the majority of the House of Representatives decide they object to the point of defunding. Yes, the Constitution does recognize that the House of Representatives resorting to such defunding is a radical use of the powers of the purse which would seldom be utilized, but the power is there to be used if such case of extremely unpopular legislation exists and cannot be prevented in any other manner. The reason the House of Representatives was given the primary responsibility for such defunding was expressly because the House of Representatives was the peoples’ representation and was to respond to the public pulse, especially if the people were found to be opposed to previously passed legislation. This power is placed initially in the House of Representatives but can also be exercised by the Senate though they theoretically must await funding legislation from the house of Representatives to be passed and sent on to the Senate. Once such legislation has reached the Senate they are able to remove funding for particular items just as the House of Representatives is empowered when originating any spending legislation. Should the Senate change the legislation by removing funding or replacing the funding which the House of Representatives chose to omit, then they are required to send the legislation back to the House of Representatives. If the two houses of Congress find themselves unable to reach an accord they will usually form a committee made up of members from both the House and Senate and from both Parties in ratios that represent the balance of powers for each party in each of the two houses of Congress. This committee is tasked with reaching an agreement which will be passed by both sides of Congress. Should the committee be unable to hammer out a compromise before the funding for the government runs out, then we have a government shutdown.
What exactly would be the consequences and inconveniences of a government shutdown. By the way the mainstream media have talked and referred to a potential shutdown one would be led to believe that it would be very similar to the Earth stopping rotating; day would never turn to night and those on the dark side of the planet would never again see the sun and would soon freeze and old people would be starving and not receiving their medications while airplanes would fall from the skies and the horsemen of chaos would be loosed on the nation. The amount of scare tactics borders on the ridiculous. Perhaps you remember the predictions over the sequestration which President Obama cautioned the public that should the Republicans in Congress not take the steps and raise the necessary funding to avoid the sequestration then the calamitous catastrophes that would befall the public and many government functions would paralyze the nation in ways unimaginable and so completely cause upheavals that it would threaten people livelihood and possibly their actual lives. Well, just in case you don’t remember the horrendous catastrophes which struck your life, we did suffer the horrors caused by sequestration except for one small item, almost nothing that President Obama predicted actually came to fruition and life pretty much continued unaffected and smooth as anyone could have hoped. The few places where difficulties were experienced, such as longer lines for a few days at some of the nation’s airports, were the result of a concerted effort to maximize difficulties wherever such was possible. There was a report leaked from one administrator who released a memo he had received from higher-ups which instructed him to make any sequestration adjustments in such a way as to maximize inconvenience on the public if at all possible. The memo claimed these instructions had come from the White House.
So, what catastrophes and other calamities should we brace for should the Conservative Republicans decide not to play nice and allow the government to run out of operating funds and go into shutdown? Well, Social Security checks and payments will continue, welfare, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, Veteran’s Checks and virtually every funding program which benefit the public will continue unaffected. The FBI, CIA, Military, DEA, BATFE, Border Patrols, Coast Guard and all law enforcement activities of the government will continue. Actually everything considered to be vital services or even necessary services which assist the people and public services will all continue. There will be some catastrophic exceptions which will be shutdown such as most Federal roads projects, some, but not all, wildlife projects, and other functions which shutdown on snow days when all unessential personnel are advised to stay home after a bad snowstorm. Those of you who remember either the Reagan or Clinton Administrations I have a question, do you remember the chaos and unbelievable discomforts and disasters which plagued every corner of the United States during the two shutdowns referred to earlier in this article? For the life of me I just cannot recall any difference between the days under shutdown and any regular period and I doubt we would this time despite any efforts to try and make it uncomfortable. The one thing we can count on, it will be those nefarious Conservative Republicans who will once again be credited with forcing the shutdown and once again displaying exactly how little we actually need the government.
Beyond the Cusp