The political blame game over the current partial shutdown is well underway, and House Speaker John Boehner is making his case that Senate Democrats and the president are chiefly to blame for the impasse:
"My goodness, they won't even sit down and have a discussion."
The president isn't telling the whole story when it comes to the government shutdown. The fact is that Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks. And, as stories across the country highlight the devastating impact of Obamacare on families and small businesses, they continue to reject our calls for fairness for all Americans. This is part of a larger pattern: the president's scorched-Earth policy of refusing to negotiate in bipartisan way on his health care law, current government funding, or the debt limit. As of this morning, Senate Democrats, acting in concert with President Obama, have rejected four different proposals from the House of Representatives to keep the government running and fund basic services.
The Speaker outlined each CR the GOP-controlled House has passed since Friday, duly noting that Harry Reid's Senate rejected each offer on a party-line vote. House Republicans sat down at a half-empty bargaining table to underscore Democrats' unwillingness to even consider anything other than a "clean" continuing resolution. "We're here to say to the Senate Democrats: Come and talk to us," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
Some in the media promptly responded to this attempt at messaging by...focusing on the race and gender of the Republicans at the table. Journalism. Meanwhile, some possible next steps are emerging. Conn reported earlier that House leaders are preparing a series of narrow bills to fund the VA, Washington DC's city government, and the National Parks Service -- with votes coming as early as this evening. (Senate Democrats are vowing to immediately kill these government-funding measures, just as they're refusing to enter any bipartisan negotiations). What's with the push to fund the national parks service, of all things? Because the 'shutdown' enforcers are literally trying to block octogenerian combat veterans from visiting the World War II memorial in DC. The war heroes haven't been impressed. Awesome:
Now a growing roster of politicians on both sides of the aisle are either asking not to be paid during the duration of the shutdown, or are donating their salary to charity. For a refresher on what is, and is not, happening as a result of this partial federal work stoppage, read this and this. For a serious look at the political implications of this standoff, read Sean Trende and David Freddoso. For a chuckle at the administration's descent into sequestration-style self-parody, check out this truly unfathomable consequence of the shutdown:
Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited. #Shutdown— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) October 1, 2013
UPDATE - A glimmer of hope from Dick Durbin: Are Democrats willing to negotiate over Obamacare's job-destroying medical device tax, which many of them have already voted to repeal? Durbin's "replace the revenue with new taxes" demand won't fly, but it may lead to something better than "no negotiations, period."
UPDATE II - Grumbling frustration among the GOP rank-and-file is beginning to simmer. How much longer will relative Republican unity last?
UPDATE III - An important reminder that not all of shutdown is silliness:
30 sick children, most w/ cancer, turned away from NIH clinical trials bc of govt shutdown, per WSJ > http://t.co/Z3gCOHxWMI— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 1, 2013
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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