Who is to blame? Government Shutdown Inevitable: Blame Game Increases as Clock Ticks

Posted: April 8, 2011 by The STR in NEWS & LOCAL NEWS
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Republicans say that if the Democratic majority of 2010 would have passed a budget or 2011 we would not be facing a Govt. shutdown. Once again what you have here is the fact that the Democratic majority did not think that their super majority would have been so short lived. They thought the Democratic Super Majority would have lasted well into the 2014 year. They failed to understand the message sent to them when the American people took to the polls in Nov. of 2010 and swept out their Majority with an over whelming Republican sweep. So now the Democrats are now scrambling to point the fingers at Republicans for a Govt. Shutdown. The Republicans are only simply doing exactly what they said they were going to do and what the American people want them to do.

House Speaker John Boehner said today he will return his pay during the days the government is shut down. He made the promise as it became clear that Republicans and Democrats — bitterly divided over women’s health funding programs — will be hard pressed to reach a deal hours before the budget deadline expires.

In the case of a government shutdown, essential personnel who are kept on duty — including troops in the field — do not receive paychecks, but members of Congress do.

“In the event of a lapse in appropriations for fiscal year 2011 causing a government shutdown, I will return any and all compensation that I would otherwise be entitled during such a lapse in appropriations,” Boehner said in a letter to fellow House members.

Sixty senators have signed on to a bill that would ensure troops are paid through a shutdown, but time is quickly running out.

Republican and Democratic negotiators huddled behind closed doors into the early hours of the morning today to hash out a budget deal, and talks are continuing. But there is still no deal to avert a government shutdown at midnight tonight if no bill is agreed upon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he’s hopeful the two sides can reach a deal today and said they had agreed to $38 billion in cuts and the Republicans’ 65 so-called “policy riders,” except the one that aims to bar funding for Planned Parenthood. He denounced Republicans, saying talks have deadlocked on “ideology.”

“Republicans want to shut down the government because they think there’s nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings,” he said. “This is indefensible and everyone should be outraged. Men and women should be outraged. Republican House leadership have only a few hours left to look in the mirror and snap out of it and realize how positively shameful it would be.”

Senate Democrats will offer their own temporary resolution that would fund the government for another week. House Republicans passed a temporary measure Thursday but it was dismissed by Democrats as political cover and ideological.

Republicans say there’s no agreement on the budget cuts and blame Democrats for not being serious about the cuts.

“If the government shuts down, it’s either because Democrats are pretending, pretending that a previously non-controversial provision is suddenly out of bounds or they refuse to take another baby step in the direction of balancing the government checkbook, something we know the American people want,” said Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Reid and Boehner met with President Obama at the White House Thursday night for their fourth meeting this week.

Sources said Democrats moved up their number to agree to $34.5 billion in spending cuts. Republicans came down to $39 billion, but there’s squabbling over about $6.5 billion. Republicans also want to add $2 billion in defense spending, which would be offset by domestic cuts.

Republicans and the president are essentially in a standoff over 0.17 percent of the budget, but the main battle is over health care services for women.

Abortion has taken center stage in the fight over spending cuts. The abortion measure in the House Republicans’ extension bill, and one they say they won’t budge on, would reinstate a policy that prevented the District of Columbia from using locally generated taxes to provide financial help to poor women for abortions.

The House voted earlier this year to defund Planned Parenthood, but 41 Democrats in the Senate have already said they would not support that legislation. The White House has said the president would not agree to any ban on funds to Planned Parenthood.

“We’ve come to realize that the moving target has now focused a bulls eye on women in America,” Reid said. “We agreed on a number. But we are not — we are not — bending on women’s health.”

Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using any federal funds for abortion-related services. Officials of the organization say more than 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood clinics do has nothing to do with abortion, but rather focuses on women’s health services such as pap smears and mammograms.

Abortion opponents say federal funding for other services means money freed up for the purposes of conducting abortions, which they regard as ending human life.

Republicans deny that Planned Parenthood is the main remaining sticking point, saying that spending is the key issue.

“There’s only one reason that we do not have an agreement as yet, and that issue is spending,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said today. “We’re close to a resolution on the policy issues, but I think the American people deserve to know, when will the White House, and when will Senate Democrats get serious about cutting spending?”

Republicans say they have offered to drop the restriction on Planned Parenthood, replacing it with a provision that would give family planning aid to the states in the form of block grants. The states would then decide which organizations would get the money. But that is not acceptable to Democrats.

The president cancelled his scheduled trip to Indiana today and will remain in Washington, D.C. to take part in the negotiations. It’s unclear whether the Obamas will take their long planned trip to Colonial Williamsburg this weekend. All national parks will close in the event of a government shutdown.

A shutdown would have wide ripple effects, including perhaps 800,000 federal worker furloughs, curtailment of public services such as mortgage, passport and loan processing, delayed tax refunds, interruption of military paychecks and disruption to a recovering economy.

The last time the government shutdown fully was in 1995, under President Clinton, for five days. A 21-day partial shutdown followed soon after.

Under federal laws, essential staff still have to report to work, but all nonessential staff will be furloughed without pay. Each agency is responsible for identifying its essential staff. Federal employees who are “necessary to protect life and property” and are needed to perform an “orderly shutdown of emergency operations” are considered “essential.” That includes most national intelligence staff, military personnel, air traffic controllers, law enforcement, emergency and disaster personnel, the Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard and similar staff.

Furloughed staff are not allowed to work as unpaid volunteers to the government, enter their offices, use their work BlackBerries or computers, and access their work email.

  1. […] (money.cnn.com)10 things that could ruin your day if the government shuts down (news.blogs.cnn.com)Who is to blame? Government Shutdown Inevitable: Blame Game Increases as Clock Ticks (smacktalkradio.wordpress.com)Time’s about up: Shutdown looms without agreement (ajc.com)U.S. […]

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