House Republicans are working hard to reframe the message and do damage control over their shutdown of the government, a shutdown they planned for last January
. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, always counted on to be loyal to the cause, has been at the forefront with her cable news appearances, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos. Yesterday, she added an email to the mix and that's what I'm focusing on here.
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the recent events in Washington, DC. On October 1, the federal government shut down many operations – and furloughed hundreds of thousands of its employees–after the President and Senate Democrats refused to negotiate any of the funding bills the House sent over to them in the past three weeks.
|Cliff Owen - AP Photo|
After the House and Senate each passed a budget, the Senate tried 18 times to conference so they could work out the differences. 18 times since April. Not only that, but Speaker Boehner made it clear last January that he is done negotiating with President Obama
. And now with the onset of their brinkmanship, the House Republicans complain about a lack of cooperation?
The House passed a budget bill that kept the government open until Dec 15 but defunded the Affordable Care Act even though it was explicitly clear the Senate wouldn't pass it and the President would veto it. This is not about "any of the bills". This is about stopping the Affordable Care Act. Senator Cruz made that very clear when he whipped up the Tea Party fervor during his 21-hour grandstand focused entirely on the Affordable Care Act.
Or is it?
It was an extraordinarily difficult thing to see happen. Nearly 800,000 federal employees don’t know when they’ll receive their next pay check. They want certainty, decisiveness, and confidence that their elected leaders can protect them. That’s why Republicans are working every day to get this government open again and get the people of Eastern Washington and America back to work. And it’s frustrating and unfortunate that the President and Senate Democrats are standing in the way of letting that happen.
Now that the repercussions of the shutdown are clear and most Americans blame the Republicans, Cathy McMorris Rodgers repeats herself to emphasize it's not their fault.
I have voluntarily chosen to withhold my salary during the shutdown, and it goes without saying that I’ve suspended all political fundraising events.
The vast majority of our politicians are wealthy enough to forgo their salary for a while. I would venture that the opposite is true for 800,000 federal employees.
But this is about much more than a debate over a funding bill. It’s a fundamental difference about how to govern, about what kind of future we want to leave for our children and grandchildren. Let me explain how we’ve reached this point. For three years, since Obamacare passed on a strictly partisan vote – pushed through with every parliamentary tactic in the book – the Administration and Senate have refused to listen to the American people. Sadly, the only time we have made any progress is when faced with one “fiscal crisis” or another, each one brought on by the federal government’s unprecedented growth in spending. Even today, the federal government is spending over $600 billion more a year than we bring in – and that number would be twice as high if the House had not forced spending reforms the last time we came up against the debt ceiling.
It'n not a debate over a funding bill at all. It's only about stopping the Affordable Care Act. Go back and read her letter in which she believes "that fairness dictates that my pay be held until such time that normal government operations resume." The second paragraph makes it clear this is about the Affordable Care Act. Senator Cruz made that clear. The Affordable Care Act has survived a Supreme court challenge and a presidential election. It's the law and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who said at her Spokane town hall that it would not be defunded, is working hard to defund it, delay it, or stop it altogether.
Or is she?
Enjoy the irony of her complaint that the Affordable Care Act passing on a strictly partisan vote. It comes from a member of a party that only brings up a bill for a vote when they know it's supported by the majority of their party.
Her complaint of a $600 billion deficit fails to mention that the deficit dramatically decreased. Why? Because of increased revenue from the expired Bush tax cuts and increased payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
For the first time since the Korean War, total federal spending has gone down for two years in a row. The Budget Control Act (BCA), which the Republicans passed, was the largest spending reduction bill of the last 25 years – amounting to $630 billion in savings over five years. It was the largest deficit control bill since 1981 not to contain a penny in tax increases. Our legislation successfully protected 99 percent of Americans from a tax increase on a permanent basis, and ensured that almost all of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates were made permanent, including the death tax and lower rates on capital gains and dividends.
All this is here to make you forget that the reason for the shutdown is to defund, delay, or stop the Afford Care Act.
Or is it?
We have ideas to revive our economy – from the Keystone Pipeline Project and energy expansion, to tax reform that would spur a new generation of American manufacturing jobs, and health care reforms that would reduce consumer costs and bring competition back into the marketplace. But the Senate believes their slim majority gives them the right to ignore everything coming from this side of the Capitol. And Americans are paying the price because of it.
Again, more "hey look over there" to take more mind off the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
With just two weeks to go until the Treasury runs out of money, with federal agencies closed and national parks padlocked, our message to the President and Democratic-controlled Senate could not be clearer: come to the negotiating table. Listen to the American people. We don’t expect to get 100 percent of what we want, but we represent one half of the legislative branch and we insist on being heard. In times of divided government, both bodies of Congress and both parties have come to the table and worked out their differences. This time should be no different. Congress works best with negotiations and compromises, not shutdowns and crises.
Republicans have dug themselves into a hole with their brinkmanship so Cathy McMorris Rodgers passes out more shovels. So why do we have this manufactured crisis?
It is what Tea Party Republicans have wanted to do this whole time
because the Williamsburg Accord doesn't go far enough.