Categorized | National, Politics

Fingerpointing Towards a Government Shutdown

 

Each Side of Congress Blames the Other for Budget Gridlock

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Washington DCThe first government shutdown in 17 years is
looming by midnight.  What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Hundreds of thousands of US government workers came to work Monday without knowing whether they will be needed on Tuesday, as federal agencies faced a devastating shutdown.

Lawmakers in the bitterly divided Congress had only a few hours left to pass a stopgap budget measure and to beat the midnight deadline, but there was little sign of compromise amidst the gridlock.

President Barack Obama has warned that a freeze in non-essential federal spending could have catastrophic effects on the shaky economic recovery, and cost thousands of jobs.  But Congressional leaders have been unable to wrangle a compromise from feuding clans of lawmakers, arguing instead over who takes the blame for the first shutdown in 17 years.

If the deadline expires without a deal the failure will have a global impact.  Oil prices slid and European and Asian shares fell, amid fears for the world’s largest economy.

And, at a more domestic level, as the Washington day began staff at federal agencies were warned that their children would not be able to attend government daycare centers on Tuesday.

Some members of Congress tried to put a brave face on the impasse with 15 hours left to thrash out an improbable compromise between the Republican-led House and Democratic Senate.  But most observers agreed the moves were dead in the water when Republicans linked budget legislation to a bid to thwart Obama’s health care law.

After the Senate passed a straightforward spending bill on Friday, the House countered by attaching amendments seeking a one-year delay to Obamacare and the repeal of a medical device tax which helps fund the law.

As legislators try to stave off a shutdown, a few unlikely options have emerged.  

House Republicans could pass a short-term measure to finance the government that does not include any of their health care delays, in order to buy more time to come up with another plan.  Or House Republicans could force a repeal of the tax on medical devices in exchange for the House’s not sending over a bill that would require members of Congress and their staffs to buy their health insurance on the new exchanges, without any government subsidies.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who refused to call the
chamber into session over the weekend despite the looming deadline, warned that this would not stand. 

“The Senate will do exactly what we said we would do and reject these measures,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said.

“At that point, Republicans will be faced with the same choice they have always faced: put the Senate’s clean funding bill on the floor and let it pass with bipartisan votes, or force a Republican government shutdown.”

As lawmakers traded blame, the Democratic leadership sounded resigned about a pending shutdown.  Asked if he believed government would shutter on Tuesday, Reid’s number two man, Senator Dick Durbin, said:  ”I’m afraid I do.”

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been under intense pressure from a small band of conservative diehards who forced the party to double down on their anti-Obamacare strategy.

With polls showing most voters would blame a shutdown on the Republicans rather than Obama, Reid insisted:  “The American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists.”

But Boehner branded the brinksmanship “an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership.”

Some Asian markets fell sharply, and Europe followed suit, albeit in part because of fears for the political crisis in Italy.  Oil prices were also down, and analysts said traders were following the situation in the United States closely.

“Things are far from the ‘panic stage’, but they don’t have to be for investors to be spooked by the apparent intractability of the US political deadlock,” said Tachibana Securities market analyst Kenichi Hirano.

US and foreign investors fear a shutdown will create a poisonous environment ahead of mid-October talks to increase the amount of money the country is authorized to borrow.

If the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling is not raised, Washington could run out of cash and default on its loan payments.  Republicans have already warned they will make this costly maneuver their next battlefield.

 (Via Yahoo News)

* * * * * * * *

Yeah, we get it

A $16.7 trillion dollar debt ceiling is a lot of money and the Republicans are holding firm.  And let’s face it, they absolutely hate—no, loathe—President Obama and everything he represents, choosing to be obstructionist at every turn.

Let’s face something else:  Republicans were within their rights to oppose the law while Congress was debating it, but fighting it three years after it was enacted, and more than a year after the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, is extreme and dangerous.  

The end result is this: Republicans are sabotaging and trying to nullify a democratically passed law.

Congress has two jobs to do:  Pay the bills on time, and pass a budget on time.  They should do just that because, unless they’ve forgotten, that’s what they get paid to do.

If we’re really going to shut down the government, let’s shut the whole damned thing down, starting with Congress.

 

We appreciate you following us
on Twitter and Facebook and
sharing the Humboldt Sentinel 
with others.

One Response to “Fingerpointing Towards a Government Shutdown”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] mood was grim at the Capitol Monday as Democrats and Republicans couldn’t get it together for the good of the nation.  Congress, and the government, needed to act because there was no authorization for the [...]


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Infrequently asked questions
    Occupy Democrats […]
  • Study: Solitary confinement is torture
    Avery Journal - A recent study released by the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law claims that solitary confinement in prisons in North Carolina is a form of torture.As social creatures, separation from other people has been shown to cause or exacerbate mental health problems. The report claims that up to 10 percent of North Carolina’s prison population is in long […]
  • Obama backing CIA's efforts to hide torture evidence
    NY Times - In a tense confrontation with President Obama’s closest adviser, a group of Senate Democrats accused the White House of trying to censor significant details in a voluminous report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency.During a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill with Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, the senato […]
  • Obama extends the Afghan war again
    Anti-War - A new report coming out of the New York Times  reveals that President Obama has signed a secret order dramatically expanding the scope of US military operations in Afghanistan in 2015.Despite claims that the war is “ending” at the end of 2014, the new order will ensure that US ground troops will continue to carry out direct combat operations throu […]
  • Where Obama lags behind other presidents
    Americans Against the Tea Party […]
  • History links
    Recovered history ESSAYS & ARCHIVES Minutes of the Wannsee Conference Things Irish Protestants should know about their homeland Joan Baez' first radio appearance A brief history of bucking the system Why Nader didn't cause Gore's loss Gene McCarthy Making cities black & poor Pilgrims' folly Washington on fire in 1968 Unsolved myst […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    I stumbled upon the outlines of a new American political fault line. It was so new that it lacked a name, stereotypes, cliches, experts and prophets. In many ways it seemed more a refugee camp than a voluntary assembly, yet, as I thought about it, the more its logic seemed only concealed rather than lacking. On one side were libertarians, blacks, greens, pop […]
  • Word
    The way you herd cattle is you lead them from behind. You find the most able and smartest cattle and have them lead the way. You empower them.' That's a good lesson for all of us. You basically have to kind of share the wealth. You have to find people who can execute your vision and ideas. I think that's relevant not only in politics, but agai […]
  • Our bipolar media
    Our bipolar media goes wild over- How the president handles unapproved immigrants but could care less about what he does about law-breaking banks and investment firms.- Rape charges against Bill Cosby but has long buried rape charges against Bill Clinton.    […]
  • Passings: Marion Barry
    Sam Smith, 2006 - Marion Barry and I split back in the 1980s. I can't remember the exact issue, but it was one time too many that Marion had promised one thing and then done another.I first met Marion in 1966. We were both in our 20s and he was looking for a white guy who would handle the press. He had just organized the largest local protest movement i […]
  • Why journalism isn't a profession
    Feom 50 years of our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 1970s - It was nice to learn the other day that the National Labor Relations Board agrees with me that journalists are not "professionals ." The ruling came in a labor dispute over which union reporters and other newspaper workers should join. The NLRB probably didn't mean to, but it nonethel […]
  • Word
    Bill Murray - A few decades ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die. […]
  • How to have a union made Thanksgiving dinner
    AFL-CIO - Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and cookware from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP); Machinists (IAM); United Steelworkers (USW); and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Kraft/Nabisco crackers—BCTGMNabisco (Mondelez) crackers […]
  • Word
    Via Debra Haaland […]
  • What's happening: Saturday
    A new controlled diet study has found that increasing the levels of saturated fat in the diet does not lead to increased levels of saturated fat in the blood. However, increasing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet was found to raise the levels of a fatty acid associated with diabetes and heart disease.50% of patients don't follow prescription guide […]