The blame game in government shutdown

Who is most responsible for the government shutdown? Let’s look at the facts. Thomas Sowell has an excellent column on the matter (see full article here).

The facts, according to Sowell are these:

“The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.”

“As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.”

“The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.”

“The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare.”


The White House is not letting this crisis go to waste.  They are trying to inflict the most pain by shutting down things that don’t have to be closed.  A case is point is noted by Warren Meyer on his Coyote Blog.  Meyer’s company runs over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract.  He has received notice that even these facilities will be shut down although they require no federal money to run.  As Meyer puts it:

“The US Forest Service, under pressure apparently from the White House, has reversed both its historical precedent as well as its position yesterday and will close over 1000 public parks and campgrounds that are operated by private companies without using one dime of public money.”



  1. When you asked us to “look at the facts” and then directed us to read an article by Thomas Sowell, I knew we were in for a special treat, Sowell is an expert at twisting the truth.

    Mr. Sowell states: “.The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.”

    – Halfway correct. There are two types of government funding, Mandatory and Discretionary. Examples of Mandatory funding are funds to keep Air Traffic Controllers on the job, and salaries for Congressmen & Senators. Examples of Discretionary funding are funds to keep National Parks operating and non-essential government employees – application processors, etc. Funding for the ACA is mandatory – the House didn’t need to appropriate any funding for it, this House took an unprecedented step of trying to reverse & remove the mandatory spending for it.

    Mr. Sowell states: “The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare’.

    – Absolutely false. The Senate removed the defunding provision, compromised and accepted the House approved ‘Sequester’ limited funding instead of insisting on their preferred spending level, and then voted to authorize the money be spent and government remain open. Because the bill originated in the House and was changed, no matter how small that change it must be sent back to the House for approval. The Republicans in the House refused to accept that change and fund the government.

    Sowell is correct in that all spending bills must originate from the House, no need to check the Constitution, I remember that from my 8th grade government class. But this is a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund continued operations of the government for 2 months. This short term funding is required because the House failed again and again in approving a full one year budget It is in the budget process that Congressmen get their right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity. Because a CR is a quick, temporary funding for government, it almost always continues funding at current levels, so that it can get passed, government is funded and remains open. And then the Congressmen get to go back to their squabbling over what & how much different government activities get funded.

    The Democratic Congress had many squabbles with both President Bushes, but never threatened to shutdown the government over them, let alone do it. No, in the last 30 years there have been 3 government shutdowns, all 3 times by a Republican House when voters sent a Democratic President to the White House.

    The Republican House’s message has been loud and clear: “Do what we say about the ACA, or the government gets it”.

    1. In other words, the Senate refused to pass the bill, thereby shutting down the government. They could have kept it open and argued about Obamacare later.

      1. “Argued about Obamacare later?” The first House bill defunded the ACA while funding the government for a whole 2 months. The Senate removed the defunding, compromised on accepting the House Sequester level funding, and sent it back to the House. The Republican House could and should have accepted & passed that. But no, they ignored it and passed a new bill funding govt. for 2 months and delaying the healthcare mandate for a year. The Senate again removed the ACA language, accepted the House funding level, and sent it back to the House. The House could have accepted that, passed it, and kept govt. open. But no, they ignored it, sat on their hands & did nothing and let government shutdown.

        But I suspect both you and .Sowell both know why government is shutdown – because Teaparty House Republicans listened to a snake oil salesmen Jr. Senator from TX who wants to run for President in 2016 sell them on his ‘plan’ to defund Obamacare, and Boehner was too terrified of losing his Speaker job to try to stop them, even though he knew it had zero chance of succeeding..

      2. We’ve already “argued about Obanacare”. In fact the Repubs tried to pass a bill more than 40 times, and failed.

        That’s how we “argue” about laws in a democracy. Not by throwing temper tantrums trying to shut everything down if you can’t get your own way.

        Everyone knows whose fault this is, and what is happening. The tea partiers are throwing a temper tantrum and they don’t care how much they hurt the country.

        Luckily they are on a 2 year cycle and we can get rid of them next year.

    2. Okay, so now explain away why Democrats are blocking a couple of bills to fund the National Park Service and the NIH (for medical trials).

      1. The Republican House is one half of one third of government. They don’t get to pick and chose which parts of government they like and chose to fund while the rest stays closed. They can act like Banana Republicans if they want, but we’re not a Banana Republic.

      2. Still rehashing 9th grade Civics class? Yes, all spending bills must originate in the House. But they then must be ratified in the other half of the Legislative Branch third of government, the U.S. Senate. And then they must be signed into law by the President, representing the Executive Branch third of government. So, if the House wants to play games – like the 40 some times they voted to repeal the ACA that wen nowhere – they can play the rope a dope pick & choose game. But if they want something to become law, they don’t get to pick & choose.

    3. Oh, and while you’re at it, why is Harry Reid preventing veterans from getting VA benefits. He refused to even consider a bill funding the VA.

    4. Nice, it’s good to see factual dialog to counter the fud coming from many concerning what is or is not good for the country. Just goes to show you what happens when you have the shadow organizations fanning the flames, like the heritage foundation. The republican’s plan radicalize those on the far right, has backfired resulting in their own version of having a tribal zone in their party that they cannot reverse.

  2. Neo-Confederates have always been very clever at manipulations to extend their influence beyond their numbers. The “financial filibuster” is just one of their newer tricks.

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