Only in Washington can politicians get away with complaining about a government shutdown, while going on vacation for a whole week.
Senate Democrats took to the air on Sunday to warn the American people about a government shutdown on March 4th. They argued that the Senate may not agree to the House passed Continuing Resolution (CR), because the bill's $61 billion in cuts to spending for the remainder of the year are too much. Yet the problem is not serious enough for these same Senators to come back to the Capitol to debate and negotiate the House passed spending measure this week to avoid a shutdown.
You see -- the Senate has a vacation scheduled for this week -- can't miss that.
The House passed measure to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year is reasonable. The Pledge to America promised $100 billion in cuts this year, yet the House could only pass $61 billion in cuts. The American people want politicians in Washington to cut, not freeze, spending this year. The federal government is carrying $14.1 trillion in debt and a record $1.6 trillion deficit for this year alone. Those numbers are evidence of a big spending problem in Washington.
If the federal government shuts down, it is the fault of Senate liberals in leadership who refuse to call the Senate back into session this week. It is also the fault of the President who has failed to bring the two parties together to negotiate an agreement on the CR.
The cuts were not as deep as some wanted in the House. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, lost an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House to cut $100 billion. The Jordan Amendment was rejected and the House settled on $61 billion in cuts. Over 400 amendments to the measure were filed in the House and the House spent many a late night last week working on this bill. The final vote was at 4am on Saturday, yet the Senate can't be bothered to cancel the scheduled vacation for the week.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on Meet the Press on Sunday "if we end up shutting down the government and calling into question whether we are going to meet our obligations for Social Security checks and paying our troops then that is an absolute utter failure." Not to be outdone, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on CNN "Speaker Boehner has said, even before negotiations, that he wants it a certain way. That is reckless and what Newt Gingrich did in 1995." The left is fear mongering by trying to blame cost cutting conservatives for a potential government shutdown, when they have yet to cast one vote on the Senate version of a CR.
Conservatives are leading the nation in cutting spending. We are seeing great examples of leadership on the state level with Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin taking actions to balance state budgets. In Washington, we are seeing Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee and Senator Jeff Session (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, address the tough fiscal issues facing the federal government. On the other hand, President Obama presented a budget to the American people for next year that adds trillions in new spending, taxes and debt over the next 10 years. A missing line item in the President's budget is entitlement reform and cuts to programs. Liberals have taken a long vacation on spending restraint and entitlement reform.
The bottom line is that many will message all week about a "government shutdown," yet the Senate is not concerned enough to cancel the scheduled vacation this week to start work on a funding measure for the remainder of the year.