Barack Obama took to the podium to complain about things that won’t get funded. He says: ““One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election.”
Well, perhaps not. But we do hold the purse strings, Mr. President, and that too is the result of an election.
So, House Members, embrace the power to do what Barack Obama says you don’t “get to” do — namely, to decide to initiate spending. For those purposes you decide are appropriate.
If you’re worried about a specific program or department not being funded — and if you’re worried about taking blame for that program getting defunded — then here’s an idea: draft a bill to fund that program or department.
For example, the House certainly didn’t want to be branded as keeping soldiers from getting paid. So guess what? They passed a bill to pay soldiers. The Senate has already passed it. Boom. Problem solved. You won’t get blamed for soldiers not getting paid.
So: if there’s anything else you think should be funded, fund it. Think national parks should be operating? OK. Draft a bill. If it’s a very popular program or department, the Senate will pass your bill.
NPR may not get funded. The Department of Education may not get funded. For a while, anyway.
Would that really be so bad?
But instead of quivering in your boots about the public being mad about a government slowdown, figure out exactly what the public wants to keep going, see if that program or department deserves it, and then fund it.
And if it doesn’t deserve it? Then don’t.
And hold fast.
Think of these bills as pressure valves. You let loose a little of the pressure built up by the haunting and very very scary prospect of a government slowdown, and then . . . wait.
Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama will figure out that you do “get to” fulfill your constitutional role, as the body that initiates spending, after all.