As the government shut down enters its second week Republican leaders took to the Sunday talk shows to spin their story. Listening to the partisan spin and half truths it became apparent to us how difficult it must be for the casual observer to discern fact from fiction.
So let’s set politics aside for the moment. For those of you just tuning in here are the facts as to why we have a government shutdown.
The Republican Party, led by the Tea Party Caucus believed that their best opportunity to reduce the size of government and block President Obama’s agenda centered around two dates. The first was September 30 when the government ran out of money and needed to pass a continuing resolution to continue its funding. The second was October 17 when the governments’ borrowing limit (debt ceiling) needed to be raised so the government could borrow the funds necessary to pay its obligations. The Tea Party Caucus believed that they could use these two events to leverage a reduction in the size of government and defund the President’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Republican led House has refused to pass a continuing resolution unless it excludes funding for the ACA. As a result the government has shut down leaving tens of millions of Americans dependent upon the government to suffer. The President has refused to negotiate the funding of the ACA. His argument is that the ACA was passed by congress, confirmed as constitutional by the Supreme Court and affirmed by the voters in the last national election.
So we are at a stalemate with the debt ceiling deadline looming 10 days down the road.
Speaker Boehner, in a Sunday talk show interview said that there were not enough votes in the House to pass a clean continuing resolution to fund the government. He placed blame for the shut down “on the President’s refusal to negotiate.”
Senator Rand Paul, on Sunday’s Meet the Press, said that the government had more than enough money to pay its debts and for the president to even suggest that we might default was “irresponsible.
Here is the truth. The government shut down and impending debt limit crisis lie squarely at the feet of the Republican Party. Speaker Boehner and Senator Paul’s statements are simply lies.
Here is why this is all on the Republicans.
It is the Republican Speaker of the House that refuses to bring a clean continuing resolution to the floor for a vote. 22 Republicans have stated publically that they will vote with Democrats to re-open the government. That is enough to pass the CR. Six independent polls have said that there are another 40-50 Republicans that have stated off the record that would vote for a clean CR. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said that if the vote were held in secret, 150 Republicans in the House would vote for a clean CR. The votes are there and the Speaker knows it. But he is more interested in saving his speakership from a Tea Party challenge than he is about saving the country. Boehner could end this misery today if he only had the courage.
It is Tea Party Republicans that hatched this plan and started this fight by leading their Republican colleagues down this dangerous dark alley with no exit strategy; threatening a primary challenge against any moderate Republican who stood in their way. And it is the moderate Republican lemmings that cowed to Tea Party pressure and blindly went along.
It is Republican Senators like Cruz and Paul who spin party rhetoric to rally the lemmings in the House to fall on their sword but back down when it is time to fall on own. Paul says the government has plenty of money to pay its debts. True, if you shut down social security and virtually every other federal agency. Cruz feigns dismay over the impasse; blaming politicians for playing politics. This is the puppet master blaming the puppet.
Now Republicans find themselves in a political box; resorting to lies and half truths to deflect blame for the damage they have caused.
Republicans started this mess on a political whim. They have the power to end it today.
Those are the facts!