Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told Politico that Senate Democrats are prepared to shutdown the government. Leader Reid outlined Senate Democrats’ obstructionist plan for the summer, warning that because Democrats plan to block appropriations bills, “we’re heading for another shutdown.” This is the height of irresponsibility.
For years, Senate Democrats under Harry Reid blocked debate on almost everything in the Senate, meaning Congress wasn’t able to get much done.
Once Republicans became the majority in both houses, Congress started moving again. Bills are being reported out of committee in record number. On the other side of the Capitol Building, the Senate voted on more amendments in their first week in session this year than the Democrat-controlled Senate considered in the entirety of 2014. Pieces of legislation debated in an open process are actually being sent to the President’s desk.
But it seems that old habits for the Democrats die hard. According to the Washington Post,
“[Senate] Democrats have decided to block all spending bills starting with the defense appropriations measure headed to the floor next week. Durbin told reporters on Tuesday that there is also no ruling out a blockade of program authorizations, like upcoming votes on highway funding.”
Last week, Minority Leader Reid infamously said that passing the National Defense Authorization Act to keep America safe and support our troops is a “waste of time.” It seems that other Senate Democrats agree with Senator Reid that doing their job is a “waste of time,” so they’ve elected to do nothing all summer and start August recess early.
As the Post said, “Democrats prepare for filibuster summer.”
Though Republicans have done everything possible to keep the appropriations process open and move through regular order—the House will have passed half of all appropriations bills after we vote on Department of Defense funding—Democrats are committed to obstruction, even to the point of forcing a shutdown. In exchange for ending their shutdown threat, Senate Democrats are demanding tax increases to pay for new spending.
Even Democrats who aren’t very excited with this plan are falling in line, more willing to follow Harry Reid’s shutdown plan than listen to the people who elected them. As Senator Barbara Mikulski said,
“We are united in voting against the motion to proceed to appropriations bills. I’m the vice chair of the appropriations committee. Am I happy that we’re coming to this? Absolutely not. … [But] it’s better to face it now.”
Every Member of Congress was sent here to do a job—most notably passing yearly appropriations bills. Blocking the appropriations process and quitting work early is not part of our job description.