02.28.2011 2

Harry Reid’s Government Shutdown

By Rick Manning

The U.S. Senate returns from their ten day President’s Day break on Monday facing a deadline for funding the federal government of Friday, Mar. 4.

Like a kid who puts off his homework until the night before it is due, Washington will be abuzz of talk of government shutdowns as Harry Reid and his merry band of Democrats look for co-conspirators across the aisle to push through a bill that only pretends to cut spending.

Reid is already claiming that the Senate has made more than $40 billion in cuts, simply by not using the budget that the President submitted last fiscal year. Of course, the only problem with this claim is that it is based upon a lie.

Last year, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi chose to not pass any budget, let alone the one the President suggested, so to claim that they have already cut $41 billion off a budget that was never even considered is worse than disingenuous.

Of course, Reid got the idea from some on the Republican side of the aisle in the House, who actually attempted to convince a wary public that $35 billion in real budget cuts were actually $74 billion, eventually being sent back to the drawing board and producing a CR that cut $61 billion in actual spending, and even then claiming it was $100 billion in cuts.

Now, Harry Reid is trying the same smoke and mirrors game in the hopes of fooling the American public into believing that he is cutting the size and scope of government. Reid spokesman Jon Summers explained, “The $41 billion is off of President Obama’s 2011 budget. The GOP also factors this into their $100 billion, so clearly both sides consider this a cut.”

The truth is that Harry Reid’s $41 billion in claimed cuts is in real terms — no change in government spending — or zero dollars in cuts.

After all is said and done, the House of Representatives have done their job. They have passed a Continuing Resolution with real budget cuts, and while these cuts don’t come close to solving the fiscal nightmare facing our nation with a projected deficit of $1,645 billion ($1.645 trillion,) they are a small step in the right direction.

From a timing perspective, it is likely that a short-term CR will be passed since Reid was out playing well after the street lights went on and will need an extension on his homework, giving him even more time to attempt to convince the public that he is a serious budget cutter without actually cutting the budget.

We have already heard the blame game revving up with Nancy Pelosi and others conceding to a “freeze” in government spending while predicting that the Republicans were going to shut down the government in a reprise of the Democrats’ 1995 playbook.

The problem with that strategy is two-fold. First, there is this thing called the Internet where people can get information from sources other than the Washington Post and Katie Couric. So, the freeze idea will be exposed as nothing more than locking us into a fiscal path that leads to certain disaster. Second, the House Republicans have done their job, they passed a longer-term continuing resolution for the duration of the Fiscal Year, and if the Senate or the President wants to keep the government running, all they have to do is pass the House version of the law, and it will keep running.

To recap:

  • Harry Reid didn’t get his homework done so our nation is going to face a possible shutdown of the federal government this week.
  • To bail Harry out, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed a short-term CR be passed this week with some small budget cuts to keep the government afloat for a couple of weeks.
  • Harry Reid is claiming $41 billion in phantom spending cuts against a budget that was never passed, the real budget cuts that he has proposed to date are a very round number — zero.
  • Harry Reid will attempt to convince the American public that the mean, old Republicans are trying to shut down the government again, even though the Republicans have passed a bill to keep the government running through Sep. 30, when the current Fiscal Year ends.

Meanwhile public employee unions are running amok in state capitols demanding that they be allowed to continue to dominate our state and nation’s spending decisions, keeping their pay high and benefits even higher.

Imagine what will happen when Congress actually starts to address the real spending problems — unions may just refuse to go to work, shutting down the government themselves ironically saving taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. If that occurs, it should be very easy to determine which federal workers are “essential”, and those that are “non-essential” should not be invited back.

Rick Manning is the Communications Director for Americans for Limited Government. You can follow him on twitter @rmanning957.

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