GOP tells Reid to get to work on budget matters, or else

posted at 1:36 pm on March 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As Senator Jeff Sessions told me yesterday on The Ed Morrissey Show, Harry Reid has gaveled out the Senate for the week and plans to spend the next two weeks on issues unrelated to the budget.  That would run out the clock on the current continuing resolution and force a showdown between John Boehner and the Republican majority in the House and the Democrats in the Senate and the White House over the budget impasse — and likely a shutdown.  Ten Senate Republicans have sent a letter to Reid threatening to object to all other business and bring the Senate to a halt:

Ten Republican senators are warning Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that they will block any bills that do not address fiscal issues until the current impasse on spending is resolved.

“While there are many issues that warrant the Senate’s consideration, we feel that the Senate must not debate and consider bills at this time that do not affirmatively cut spending,” reads a letter signed by the group of 10. “We, therefore, are notifying you of our intention to object to the consideration of any legislation that fails to directly address this crisis in a meaningful way.”

The letter was signed by Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana, Jeff Sessions of AlabamaJohn Ensign of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Marco Rubio of Florida, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Senate rules give individual members the power to block legislation indefinitely to force debate. The letter says that the members will blockade any unrelated bill that comes forward unless Reid dedicates “significant floor time” to the debate over debt and spending.

The most obvious impulse is to compare this with the Wisconsin fleebaggers, and it’s a good comparison …. for Republicans.  The GOP has not threatened to stomp off in a huff because Reid won’t address the budget.  Instead, they are pledging to work within the system to demand action from Reid on a budget that has now waited more more than five months past its due date, as Democrats failed to produce a budget when they held large majorities, mainly because they didn’t bother to try.

Democrats seem to have decided that a shutdown will work to their benefit, as TPMDC reports today, and that attitude goes all the way to the top:

A senior Treasury department official told reporters Thursday that a brief government shutdown may be unavoidable as the only feasible way to de-escalate the confrontation over government spending dividing Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The official said the administration still hopes to avoid such a flashpoint because of the impact it would have on the economy, but added that President Obama will not sign short-term stop-gap government funding measures in perpetuity.

The comments were made in a briefing with reporters conducted on deep background, meaning no direct quotes could be attributed to the official.

The official’s remarks represent the most serious indication yet that the administration is willing to endure a short term shutdown despite the unknown political costs, to focus congressional leadership on brokering a long-term deal. But they also come at a time of ongoing negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans, and are a signal that the administration isn’t resigned to getting rolled by the GOP. Whether that’s tough talk designed to move negotiations, a bluff, or an indication that the White House is prepared to go the brink on this remains to be seen.

Good luck with that brinksmanship.  This isn’t 1995, and Obama’s not Bill Clinton.  In 1995, the dispute was over a new budget that the GOP built from scratch.  The Clinton White House didn’t run away from budgeting, nor did Democrats in the minority in both chambers of Congress.  In this instance, the dispute is over a budget that Democrats didn’t even bother to write while they controlled both chambers of Congress, with a President who has remained as detached from budget negotiations as possible, and now with a Democrat-controlled Senate that won’t even bother to debate the budget while the CR expires.

If that’s what passes for a winning hand around Washington these days, then Democrats are far more desperate than we’d presumed until now.  Under those circumstances, the blame for a shutdown will come squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats who failed in their constitutional duty to pass a budget on time while they had plenty of votes to do so.

Here’s the full letter from Senate Republicans, as well as a speech from Sessions explaining why we need to start getting serious about cuts and stop talking about “investments.” People who borrow 40% of what they spend don’t have the resources for more investments, and can’t pay for those already committed.


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Stand strong Repubs. Do what you were sent there to do!

indypat on March 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Shut if down! The dc bunch will be surprised to see the U.S. will still be here without getting the budget.
L

letget on March 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Obama threw down the guantlet earlier at his blah blah conference.

I say shut it down and let it play out.

darwin-t on March 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Obama is the Chief Kindergartner. The other kids are out on the playground. He is too, come to think of it.

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Democrats failed to produce a budget when they held large majorities, mainly because they didn’t bother to try.

Quite simply, they don’t want the public to see the RED ink!

GarandFan on March 11, 2011 at 1:42 PM

We are in trouble, the Dems are in denial about the fiscal problems we face. Either that or Obama is intent on ruining our economy.

MJZZZ on March 11, 2011 at 1:42 PM

I don’t want to be furloughed. So Democrats better cave. Now.

Vyce on March 11, 2011 at 1:42 PM

McConnell still checking the Senate vacation schedule…

Gohawgs on March 11, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Let them run and find a new sandbox to play in.

percysunshine on March 11, 2011 at 1:43 PM

One good thing – if the gov’t shuts down, then Obamacare can’t continue to be implemented….

TeresainFortWorth on March 11, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Please shut it down. Maybe some of that 35% of Americans waiting for a handout will get a job.

ouldbollix on March 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The senate has 100 players. You could form a couple football teams with that.

percysunshine on March 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

The Dem’s are still running the show, I see.

Knucklehead on March 11, 2011 at 1:46 PM

How far can Harry Reid kick a football anyway?

percysunshine on March 11, 2011 at 1:46 PM

and plans to spend the next two weeks on issues unrelated to the budget.

warm up that harmonica and gee-tar, Harry! We wants us some dadgum cowboy poetry!

ted c on March 11, 2011 at 1:46 PM

A senior Treasury department official told reporters Thursday that a brief government shutdown may be unavoidable as the only feasible way to de-escalate the confrontation over government spending

Modern liberal dictionary: De-escalate – to use legislative ledgerdemain in an attempt to prevent any change to the status quo, regardless of election results.

Vashta.Nerada on March 11, 2011 at 1:47 PM

The Dems are counting on the MSM turning a shutdown into a PR disaster for the GOP.

Sadly, they are probably right.

cool breeze on March 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Plan on Obama making a necessary trip to Japan and Australia in say two weeks…

in_awe on March 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

The Dems are counting on the MSM turning a shutdown into a PR disaster for the GOP.

Sadly, they are probably right.

cool breeze on March 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Three words for ya: “Cowboy Poetry Festival”.

Harry Reid’s going to have that video clip shoved so far up his dumb *ss that he won’t be able to sit down for the rest of his term.

teke184 on March 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM

The Republicans should start every block with the words…

“Unlike the Democrat State Senators in Wisconsin, we are not running away from our responsibilies…”

… It would be like pouring salt on a snail.

Seven Percent Solution on March 11, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Democrats have their legions of liars ready and waiting.

Conservatives have to preempt them.

Speakup on March 11, 2011 at 2:04 PM

To quote Sharron Angle, “Man up, Harry Reid!”

steebo77 on March 11, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Another priority here is [Rep.] Devin Nunes’s bill to force disclosure of public-employee pension funds’ liabilities. Some people say it’s a trillion. Some people says it’s three. Talk about educating the public? Wait till that becomes an issue in the 2012 campaign.

If only the public were educated, if only the media would do their jobs, if only…

Schadenfreude on March 11, 2011 at 2:05 PM

GOP tells Reid to get to work on budget matters, or else

Resolutions to name May as the month brought to you by the letter M and the number 1.7 trillion, hardest hit.

Lily on March 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM

The Dems are counting on the MSM turning a shutdown into a PR disaster for the GOP.

Sadly, they are probably right. This time they are wrong.

cool breeze on March 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Sorry, I had to FIFY.

Fallon on March 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM

My 8yr. old daughter has better fiscal sense than the Dems have. I’d bet serious money her 3rd grade class could do a better job of budgeting.

hboulware on March 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

How Reid got re-elected is just beyond me…

PatriotRider on March 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

The TEAnami touches the shore in the Senate…begins moving inland.

BobMbx on March 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

How Reid got re-elected is just beyond me…

PatriotRider on March 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Having a history as the mob’s bagman in Vegas has its benefits, such as wonderful support by the unions.

teke184 on March 11, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Shut if down! The dc bunch will be surprised to see the U.S. will still be here without getting the budget.
L

letget on March 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Our problem is that little Bammie has the ability to cause a disruption and blame that disruption on a shutdown. Will the liberal media see through it and call him on it? Doubtful.

slickwillie2001 on March 11, 2011 at 2:11 PM

There’s a big elephant in the room that no one’s discussing. Our debt payments. If the gov. is shut down the Repubs need to get assurances in public from the WH that the debt payments will be made regardless. If they can get the Dems to agree to that then let them shut ‘er down. That spending absolutely must be paid to keep this country solvent. Otherwise it’s Bangledesh time for us.

We have the Dems over a barrel here, I just hope they realize this. If they won’t agree to make these payments during a shutdown then they would be discredited publicly and they would be shown to have utter disregard for the well being of this country. If they do agree, then we can be as draconian as we think the public will stand for and the battle over what goes and what stays can be fought.

We have a winning hand. I just hope these wimps with the R’s next to their names grow a set in time and don’t get bamboozled – again.

shmendrick on March 11, 2011 at 2:13 PM

GOP tells Reid to get to work on budget matters, or else

We’ll cave like we always do.
/The Establishment

Brat4life on March 11, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Those 10 need reinforcements.

Remember that in 2012: you don’t need to be in the majority to make the will of the people known. And the more of them willing to go after the spending, the better off we all are.

ajacksonian on March 11, 2011 at 2:22 PM

My 8yr. old daughter has better fiscal sense than the Dems have. I’d bet serious money her 3rd grade class could do a better job of budgeting.

hboulware on March 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

I’m sure she could. At that age the concept of “I have X number of dollars, so I can spend X amount of money, then I have no more to spend” is easily understood.

It’s only when people get into politics that the idea of “I have X number of other peoples’ dollars, so I can spend X^7 amount of dollars because I can, it doesn’t cost ME anything, and the stuff I’m spending it on is cool and the people who I’m spending it on like me and will vote for me again.”

DrAllecon on March 11, 2011 at 2:26 PM

We’ll cave like we always do.
/The Establishment

Walker. did. not. cave.

jeanie on March 11, 2011 at 2:29 PM

shmendrick on March 11, 2011 at 2:13

Let’s go the Bangladesh route…

PatriotRider on March 11, 2011 at 2:30 PM

That would run out the clock on the current continuing resolution and force a showdown

“On Wisconsin”

“Fight, fight, fight”

Skandia Recluse on March 11, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Why didn’t more GOP Senators sign this letter?

I see a lot of the Tea Party guys did sign it.

HondaV65 on March 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

The Republicans need to keep trying to get this resolved, and do it very publicly. Make sure that when (I no longer think it is “if”) the Dhimms try to shut it down and blame the right, they have no leg to stand on.

Our problem is that little Bammie has the ability to cause a disruption and blame that disruption on a shutdown. Will the liberal media see through it and call him on it? Doubtful.

slickwillie2001 on March 11, 2011 at 2:11 PM

They see it. The only question is, will they report it?

iurockhead on March 11, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Hostage to Dem election aims in 2012. Enough!! Go get Reid and hang him out to dry GOP. Guess Reid hasn’t heard about ‘galvanizing’ the Republican base. Walker is on the verge of becoming a GOP hero…this isn’t lost on our people on the Hill. It isn’t lost on the public either.

jeanie on March 11, 2011 at 2:43 PM

How many Republican Senators are there? 46? Whatever … why did only 10 sign the letter?

JSGreg3 on March 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Senate rules give individual members the power to block legislation indefinitely to force debate. The letter says that the members will blockade any unrelated bill that comes forward unless Reid dedicates “significant floor time” to the debate over debt and spending.

If the rest of the Republican caucus goes along with this, they could FILIBUSTER everything except the budget, then blame Reid and the Democrats for not agreeing to even vote on a budget already passed by the House.

Besides, what new legislation passed by a 53D/47R Senate could ever get through Boehner’s House? Wouldn’t the Democrats be wasting precious time trying, which could be better spent working on a budget before the CR runs out?

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Why didn’t more GOP Senators sign this letter?

I see a lot of the Tea Party guys did sign it.

HondaV65 on March 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Half of the signers are newly-elected freshmen Senators: Lee(UT), Paul(KY), Rubio(FL), Ayotte(NH), and Toomey(PA). Kelly Ayotte is a pleasant surprise here–the Tea Party supported primary opponent Ovide Lamontagne, while Ayotte was endorsed by Sarah Palin, and she seems to be more conservative than Judd Gregg, whom she replaced.

Steve Z on March 11, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Going to e-mail Ayotte and tell her that this NH voter approves.

jeanie on March 11, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Shutter Down!

OkieDoc on March 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

OK enough of this crap! It’s time to go to the mattresses!!!!!!!! How ’bout I maka da gravy while use guys maka da meatballs!!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on March 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM

text “Red Cross” to 90999

Help Japan people.

JustJP on March 11, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I heard that shutdown in 1995 caused 1% decrease in GDP, through no-salaries paid to some 800k federal workers, and decrease in spending of 14%. Remind me , where is the downside?

anikol on March 11, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Personally I dont care if they keep making debt paymets, if the world will stop financing our debt, we will stop spending more than we have. If bankrupcy is the only way to stop overspending, then it is time for bankrupcy.

anikol on March 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM

The Democrats seem to think they can get some good press out of this. They had to have polled this, they never do anything without taking a poll.

Deep down inside, I hope they decide to play politics with this. The truth about who’s responsible for this will get out, this isn’t like the old days, when the 3 networks controlled, not only the story, but also the spin on the story. The people that voted them out of office did so for a reason and, the bad news for the Democrats is, this was one of the reasons.

bflat879 on March 11, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Dear Wisconsin Republicans.
Please send large quantities of what ever you have been drinking to the republicans in DC.
Respectfully yours, Conservative Voter.

Slowburn on March 11, 2011 at 11:33 PM

The Democrats seem to think they can get some good press out of this. They had to have polled this, they never do anything without taking a poll.

Yeah, but it was a CBS/NYT poll and we know how “accurate” those polls are. Wink, wink.

skeneogden on March 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM