Throughout the past week, Democrats leaders have justified their refusal to negotiate with Republicans as a natural response to hostage taking. They claim that the fight over Obamacare is extraneous to the budget, and as such, they should not have to talk to Republicans until they agree to pass a “clean” CR. There are two points they are obfuscating in the context of the budget battle.
1) Obamacare was passed through budget reconciliation. So when they felt it was convenient for them to inject Obamacare into the budget process; namely, for the purpose of avoiding the 60-vote threshold, they were more than happy to do so. Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Now that we have approached the implementation date, which coincides with the budget deadline, it’s time to use that same process to uproot a law that is unworkable and unpopular.
2) Democrats say they are refusing to pass individual funding bills for vital services because Republicans are manipulating the process to cherry pick what they want to fund. Instead they are demanding that Republicans just pass a catch-all CR. In reality, they are the ones who have the process backwards. Regular order means passing individual appropriations bills one at a time. This business of funding the government with endless continuing resolutions is nonsense. Granted that we are past the deadline, but whose fault is that? Senate Democrats have refused to go through regular order and send the 12 individual bills to conference.
Now that Democrats have refused to follow regular order, it’s time we focus on each funding bill one at a time. Republicans have already passed bills to fund the DC government, NIH, national parks, military, and veterans. Today they will pass many more funding bills, including some aspects that conservatives would like to reform or eliminate:
- H.R. 3223 - Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (Rep. Moran, D-VA)
- H.J. Res. 75 - Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act (Rep. Aderholt, R-AL)
- H.J. Res. 76 - Nuclear Weapon Security & Non-Proliferation Act (Rep. Frelinghuysen, R-NJ)
- H.J. Res. 77 - Food and Drug Safety Act (Rep. Aderholt, R-AL)
- H.J. Res. 78 - Preserving Our Intelligence Capabilities Act (Rep. Young, R-FL)
- H.J. Res. 79 - Border Safety & Security Act (Rep. Carter, R-TX)
- H.J. Res. 80 - American Indian and Alaska Native, Health, Education, and Safety (Rep. Simpson, R-ID)
- H.J. Res. 82 - National Weather Monitoring Act (Rep. Rogers, R-KY)
- H.J. Res. 83 - Impact Aid for Local Schools Act (Rep. Rogers, R-KY)
- H.J. Res. 84 - Head Start for Low-Income Children Act (Rep. Rogers, R-KY)
- H.J. Res. 85 - National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act (Rep. Carter, R-TX)
Why are the Democrats so scared to fund these vital services, national security interests, and some of their own pet projects – all for the purpose of protecting Obamacare? Let’s pass each bill one by one and restore the full function of government until we reach the funding for HHS, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the IRS. If Democrats are so confident that Obamacare is working and resonating with the public, why not have a focused debate directly on funding for Obamacare without holding the rest of government hostage?
Why do they suddenly fear the budget process they so eagerly embraced in 2010?