Obama Confused on the Constitution: This Shutdown Is Just Democracy At Work
The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the power of the purse, and Congress has chosen to impose a statutory debt ceiling on itself. If these are extreme or irresponsible ideas then they should be altered, not simply ignored.
The President lectures Congress that “you don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job.” This misunderstands our government on every level. Congress’s job is, indeed, to fund the operations of government. But it’s a mistake to view the appropriations process as a rubber stamp on government. Rather, it is a vital part of our nation’s separation of powers.
Shutdowns have been frequent tools of policy. Just ask Reagan.
One party controls the White House and the Senate by less than the margin needed to end a filibuster, and the other party controls the House by a wide margin. A fundamental conflict over government spending is at the heart of an impasse that leads to a shutdown of the federal government.
The year is not 2013 but 1981 . . . and 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987. That’s right, the Reagan years, when President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill would work things out and avoid having to close the Washington Monument. With all due respect to Chris Matthews and other purveyors of this narrative popular in today’s Washington, the reality was quite different.
Newt Gingrich: Founding Fathers Liked Shutdowns
House Republicans have to be prepared to compromise but so must President Obama and his Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Faced with a president who refuses to negotiate, the House Republicans have to stand firm. A collapse of the House Republicans would teach President Obama that he can get away with virtually anything he wants. It would lead to a frightening three years and ultimately an even bigger crisis.
There is a path to a negotiated agreement but it requires both sides to negotiate. In 1995-96, both sides knew they were subordinate to the Constitution and they had to reach an agreement. It is not clear that this is true today.