Green Room

Another shutdown looms: Are Dems/prex holding government hostage?

posted at 11:40 am on December 14, 2011 by

Late on Tuesday the House of Representatives voted to extend the president’s payroll tax cuts. Not everyone in Washington is rejoicing, however. Neither are “disinterested” commentators outside the Beltway. Here’s the Washington Post (via Associated Press):

Defiant Republicans pushed legislation through the House Tuesday night that would keep alive Social Security payroll tax cuts for some 160 million Americans at President Barack Obama’s request—but also would require construction of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that has sparked a White House veto threat. [Emphasis added]

Passage, on a largely party-line vote of 234-193, sent the measure toward its certain demise in the Democratic-controlled Senate, triggering the final partisan showdown of a remarkably quarrelsome year of divided government.

So, the Republicans accede to the president’s request but are still somehow the bad guys because there are strings attached, in this case Obama’s signing off on the Keystone XL pipeline. Even if you accept opponents’ arithmetic—that the project will create 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, not 100,000 or more as supporters are claiming—it still reduces dependence on foreign oil. Besides, the bill contains other sweeteners, including another round of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

But nothing will stave off the measure’s “certain demise in the Democratic-controlled Senate,” whose leader, Harry Reid, dismissed the pipeline provision as “ideological candy” for the Tea Party set.

Oh, and did I neglect to mention that the government is facing another shutdown on Friday? With the two parties in Congress locked in a stalemate, Democrats, at the president’s urging, are holding up a $1 trillion omnibus bill to fund government for the balance of the fiscal year that began on October 1.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday:

We’ve got a bipartisan agreement on a number of appropriation bills, and the president presumably—in order to create some political issue, which I find difficult to understand—has instructed Democratic senators not to sign the conference report on a bill they support.

A question that naturally arises is when will the liberal-left media, not to mention Democratic leaders in Congress, declare that their own party and the president are holding the government hostage? That is what they did in April, when a governmental shutdown was looming because Republicans, in the words ofDemocratic Whip Steny Hoyer, refused “to compromise on their divisive social agenda.”

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Shut it down, fire 500k govt regulators, and maybe then we well be closer to a balanced budget

liveammo on December 14, 2011 at 11:52 AM

A question that naturally arises is when will the liberal-left media, not to mention Democratic leaders in Congress, declare that their own party and the president are holding the government hostage?

They won’t, or more precisely, they can’t. It’s simply impossible for them to say as such. It’s not that the media supports the liberal left, but rather that they identify with the liberal left.

With that in mind, the media certainly wouldn’t see themselves as holding the government hostage. There is only one other possibility:

Clearly, since we in the media don’t want to hold the government hostage, it must be those RethugliKKKanz we keep reporting on.

It’s the main failing of the media. Taking sides was never the problem; identifying with one of the sides is the problem.

mintycrys on December 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM

You mean the D’s will have to stop working on their plan to bankrupt and destroy the country?

Okay, and what was the downside again?

Abiss on December 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM

There would be nothing sweeter for Christmas than for a total shutdown of the government. As long as they are home, the less damage that they could do…

PuritanD71 on December 14, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Did they pass the bill to protect military pay in case of another government shutdown? That is pretty much my only hesitation in encouraging them to shut down. Back in April, when the initial threat was popping up, I had airmen (especially the ones who were dual military, without that civilian income to back up the military one) panicking over being able to pay for formula and diapers. Now, I would like to think that they’ve been preparing for this situation, but it is Christmas time, and most of them are under 25 and focused on buying presents for their kids.

Pancho on December 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM