Republicans and Democrats have been in the media lately blaming each other for the possible shut down of the federal government in the event that the 2011 budget is not passed by tomorrow-- April 8th. We were in the same boat in the 1990’s when the government briefly ran out of money with Clinton as President and Newt Gingrich in the role of House Speaker. Many speculate that Clinton won re-election as a result.
On the one side you have the Republicans, led by House speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), demanding drastically more cuts to the $33 billion in spending cuts already tentatively agreed upon and changes to social issues such as abortion. On the other side are the Democrats, led by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev), who argue that they have already agreed to $10 billion in cuts in March, and called further cuts unacceptable.
An important side note is that Boehner and the Republicans currently have the necessary votes needed to pass the budget, but Boehner wants the votes to come from a majority of Republicans. When a reporter recently asked Boehner if he was interested in forming a coalition with the Democrats to pass legislation to keep the government operating, Boehner said, “Not very interested.”
Could this be influence from the tea party? Many hardline tea party members are digging in their heels and refusing to budge unless more significant cuts are made. House member Paul Brown (R-Ga.) said that any bill with less than $61 billion in cuts would be an insult, and he vowed to vote against it. With the 2012 election on the horizon, do the Republicans fear a back lash from tea partyers who may call them out if they don’t publicly proclaim a hard-line stance with the budget?
The Democrats, meanwhile, are demanding that the Republicans abandon their loyalty to the tea party and stick to their loyalty to the American people as a whole. “The Republican leadership in the House has to make a decision whether they’re going to do the right thing for the country or do the right thing for the tea party,” Reid said recently on CBS Face the Nation.
Republicans are demanding more cuts to education, research, clean energy and ‘Obama care’—money for Obama’s health care overhaul.
Let’s face it, the Republicans loath President Obama. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that if the Republicans found out the Thanksgiving were Obama’s favorite holiday they would try to outlaw turkeys? With so many ‘personal’ feelings toward the President, it would seem nearly impossible to come to a compromise and settle the budget for the American people. After all, isn’t that the job of our Congress? Carefully engaging in a healthy debate that would benefit the American people? Senator McCain (R-Ariz.) so proudly stated on numerous occasions during his 2008 Presidential bid about, ‘..crossing the aisle’—Congress needs to put their personal feelings aside and talk to one another.
Regardless of your point of view, aren’t you concerned about how our government has become? It’s like a test of wills between the Democrats and Republicans as if they were children in a grocery store; laying prostrate on the floor screaming for their favorite sweets until their horrified mother relents.