Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

It’s easy to blame Republicans when you don’t know how things work

The current government shutdown is, as we’ve all been told, a result of Congress failing to agree on funding measures. Since Congress controls federal money they have the responsibility of appropriating that money. If they don’t, stuff doesn’t get funded (well some stuff, a LOT of stuff is funded automatically). A curious thing about propaganda is that it works with the illusion of keeping people informed. But it does so in a way that makes people think they know what’s going on without ever looking into the situation for themselves. Propaganda works best when people are diverted away from thinking for themselves. If you haven’t looked into the situation, or if you have but you’ve made sure to protect yourself from the supposed lies of the other side, how do you really know what’s going on with only the one narrative you’ve been exposed to?

Thinking people ask questions. They don’t blindly accept someone else’s word on a controversial issue. Some people recognize the fact that both parties and both houses of Congress have failed to reach an agreement. With the news media insistent on finding someone to blame, with just the failure of Congress we should be blaming both parties. And some are doing that. But that is not what we’re supposed to do, because our faithful gatekeepers of the news are to determined to make sure you blame only Republicans for the shutdown. That’s especially odd considering how our American government actually works. So let’s take a closer look at that by following a simple and well known axiom: follow the money.

Once tax receipts are in the hands of the federal government, how does it make its way to the people who depend on it? It begins in the House of Representatives. According to the law of the land, Article I Section 7 begins with:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

So the House of Representatives starts the government funding process by producing funding legislation. And have they been doing this? How many funding measures has the House of Representatives approved recently? Since September 20, in efforts to avoid a shutdown before October 1, and in efforts to keep essential programs funded after October 1, the House has passed 22 pieces of legislation to fund the government. Since House Republicans are continually blamed for the shutdown Speaker John Boehner created this page to keep track of bills passed by the House.

According to the list, on October 1 the Speaker of the House attempted to create a conference between the House and the Senate specifically to negotiate about funding measures to end the shutdown – which Democrats refused. Seeing the shutdown before it actually hit, the House passed the Pay Our Military Act on Sept. 28. That bill passed in the Senate and President Obama signed it into law. All other measures designed to avoid a government shutdown either died in the Senate or the President simply hasn’t moved on it.

The only two measures both houses of Congress could manage to agree on funding were the Pay Our Military Act (Sept.28) and the Honoring Families of Fallen Soldiers (Oct. 9). The president hasn’t done anything with the latter. That leaves 21 other funding measures passed by the House but killed by the (Democrat controlled) Senate.

Here is the list of these funding measures:

  • Continuing Resolution (to keep government funded)
    passed by the House Sept. 20 – died in the Senate
  • Continuing Resolution (to keep government funded)
    passed by the House Sept. 28 – died in the Senate
  • Continuing Resolution (to keep government funded)
    passed by the House Sept. 30 – died in the Senate
  • another Continuing Resolution (to keep government funded)
    passed by the House Sept. 30 – died in the Senate
  • Provide local funding for the District of Columbia Act
    passed by the House Oct. 2 – died in the Senate
  • Open our National Parks and Museums Act
    passed by the House Oct. 2 – died in the Senate
  • Research for Lifesaving Cures Act
    passed by the House Oct. 2 – died in the Senate
  • Pay our Guard and Reserve Act
    passed by the House Oct. 3 – died in the Senate
  • Honoring our Promise to America’s Veterans Act
    passed by the House Oct. 3 – died in the Senate
  • National Emergency and Disaster Recover Act
    passed by the House Oct. 4 – died in the Senate
  • Nutritional Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act
    passed by the House Oct. 4 – died in the Senate
  • Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act
    passed by the House Oct. 5 – never brought up in the Senate
  • Food and Drug Safety Act
    passed by the House Oct. 7 – died in the Senate
  • Head Start for Low-Income Children Act
    passed by the House Oct. 8 – died in the Senate
  • Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth Working Group Act
    passed by the House Oct. 8 – died in the Senate
  • Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act
    passed by the House Oct. 8 – died in the Senate
  • Flight Safety Act
    passed by the House Oct. 9 – died in the Senate
  • Honoring Families of Fallen Soldiers
    passed by the House Oct. 9 – passed by Senate, stalled by President
  • Border Safety and Security Act
    passed by the House Oct. 10 – died in the Senate
  • Nuclear Weapon Security and Non-Proliferation Act
    passed by the House Oct. 11 – died in the Senate
  • American Indian and Alaska Native, Health, Education, and Safety
    passed by the House Oct. 14 – died in the Senate

Some on the political left don’t like the term “Obamacare”. They want to make sure you understand the legislation is called the Affordable Care Act (actually it’s the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Doesn’t that sound lovely and compassionate? Who would dare oppose such benevolent government? If the title of a piece of legislation is all you need to know about it (how may of the roughly 2800 pages of Obamacare have you read?) take a look again at the bills listed above.

The Republican controlled House has passed bill after bill for funding the government to end the shutdown. Senate Democrats and President Obama have decided not to negotiate until they get everything they want. The Senate has killed the vast majority of spending measures sent their way during this “crisis”. Apparently that’s what negotiation means in American politics today.

In this shutdown there is only one possible way the House of Representatives could be responsible for it – and that’s by refusing to appropriate money. They have refused to fund Obamacare, but Republicans have not refused to fund the rest of the government. It is the Senate and President Obama who have done that. House Republicans did exactly what the constitution says they should to fund government. Republicans did their job but the Senate can’t pass up an opportunity to politically exploit the situation. This is a Democrat shutdown, according to the law of the land.

congress, constitution, crisis, Democrats, diplomacy, economy, funding, government, health care, indoctrination, legislature, pandering, president, propaganda, public policy, spending

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Filed under: congress, constitution, crisis, Democrats, diplomacy, economy, funding, government, health care, indoctrination, legislature, pandering, president, propaganda, public policy, spending

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