Do-Nothing Senate: Shutdown Edition

Dan Holler

10/7/2013 6:39:00 AM - Dan Holler

Be prepared for an onslaught of new polling as we head into the second week of the Obama-Reid government shutdown. Regardless of what those polls say, you can guarantee they will be repeated ad nausea in the media. Here are some numbers you probably won’t see if you flip on the television.

33.75. The number of hours Harry Reid’s Senate has been in session since the government shut down. This may be what passes for full-time work in the Obama economy – and it is actually defined as full time under Obamacare – but for most Americans it falls woefully short. And even when the Senate was in session, Americans tuning into C-SPAN 2 looking for leadership were frequently greeted by the infamous Quorum Call. By comparison, the House logged more than 50 hours during the first six days of the shutdown.

10. The number of funding bills the White House has threatened to veto since the government shutdown began. President Obama “would veto” “appropriations

legislation that restores only very limited activities” because it “is not a serious or responsible.” Of course, the President was in favor of “piecemeal” bills before he was against them, having signed the Pay Our Military Act, which ensured our troops would be paid during the shutdown, on October 1.

8. The number of bills passed by the Republican-controlled House and ignored by Harry Reid’s Senate. These bills include funding for military veterans benefits, which Nancy Pelosi called “a waste of time.” Other bills include funding for national parks, clinical cancer trails for children, and the National Guard and military reservists. Multiple times last week, conservative senators including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee asked for these bill to be passed by unanimous consent, and each time a Democrat objected.

1. The number of roll call votes conducted in Harry Reid’s Senate has been in session since the government shut down. To be clear, that vote did not come after 30+ hours of debate on an issue, but rather at 9:35 AM on October 1. Minutes after convening on Day 1 of the shutdown, the Senate voted along party lines to reject yet another attempt by the Republican-controlled House to fund the government.

0. The number of defections in the Senate among Democrats. Every single Democrat senator, from self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders (VT) to vulnerable red-staters like Mark Begich (AK), Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Mark Pryor (AR), are voting in lock-step with the demands of President Obama. That unity stands in stark contrast to the House, where 57 Democrats broke ranks Pelosi last week.

Harry Reid’s Senate has certainly taken the “do-nothing” label to a new level. But in many ways, you cannot blame him. The marching orders come straight from President Obama, who cares only about protecting a failed law that is hurting the country, not about protecting Americans.

Over the weekend, a San Jose Mercury News article put it all into perspective:

“‘I was laughing at Boehner -- until the mail came today,’ [Obama supported Tom] Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“‘I really don't like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family's pocket each year, that's otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.’”

"Welcome to the club," said a prominent health care consultant. For Washura, and many more like him, Obamacare means skyrocketing premiums. For others, it’ll mean fewer hours at work (we’re looking at you, Harry Reid). And for some, it’ll mean losing a job or a doctor.

Defending Obamacare isn’t easy, which may be why the Senate did so little last week.