must approve a budget by October 1, or our government will shut
down. That means that people will not be paid and technically,
government departments will cease to operate. Social Security
payments, veterans’ benefits, and more will cease to be paid.
Literally, government will shut down.
we get to this brinkmanship, Congress approves a continuing resolution,
which provides temporary funding at current levels, or enforces an
across the board reduction of a certain percent. Sometimes the
cuts are established so that the military takes smaller cuts than other
departments. The bottom line is that lawmakers figure out how to
apply a Band-Aid to a hemorrhaging leg. The bad news is that the
problem does not go away. The good news is that it keeps us going
for a few minutes.
are House Republicans so determined to have a budget showdown?
Part of it is their determination to end federal funding for Planned
Parenthood. They refuse to understand that, in addition to
providing abortion service, Planned Parenthood provides basic women’s
health services, including gynecological examinations. They are
providing these health services in areas where they are not
available. Abortions represent just a fraction of what they
offer. But, based on a set of bogus videos, some Republicans are
using those videos to posture about abortion. Somebody needs to
speak up for Planned Parenthood, but unless they do, this is going to
be a rook on the shutdown chessboard.
there is the issue, always, about budget cuts and the difference
between domestic spending and military spending. In order to
accept the Obama budget, Congress will have to lift the debt
ceiling. They don’t want to. The Republican rap is we need
more fiscal discipline. Many of these folks will take to the
floor of Congress or of the Senate to rail about irresponsible
spending. Their drama impedes the October 1 deadline, and they
is an opportunity for many Republicans who are Presidential candidates
(Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson to name a few) to
show their stuff. They want to stand out from their opponents, as
well as from this administration. They hope like hell that C-SPAN or
some other media is there to capture their vapid remarks. They
pray that their passionate nonsense will make the evening news.
If they have the slightest bit of sense, they will help pass this
budget. Perhaps, after they’ve blown off enough steam, they will.
discussion about the debt ceiling and the division between domestic and
military spending is a recurrent one. Both Congress and the
Senate have mixed feelings around the deal that our country has cut
with Iran. We have limited Iran’s ability to manufacture nuclear
weapons, and we have imposed some checks and balances to keep them to
their word. How do you cut a deal with the devil? Can we
really trust Iraq? For the longest time I have had mixed feeling
about the deal, mostly because I really think that part of the deal
should be to release American citizens, like the Washington Post
reporter Jason Rezaian, who are being held in Iraq. After much
contemplation, I am persuaded that the Iran deal is better than
anything we’ve had until now. We’re going to deal with a
free-lance devil, or a devil with a contract. We can’t verify a
thing with the freelance devil. We have significant, though not
perfect, limits to Iran’s arms accumulation, so we’ve cut a deal with
the devil with a contract. That’s not perfect but it is
better than nothing. Would we prefer the Donald Trump nonsense
of “I can negotiate with anyone? Somebody would negotiate
his comedic idiocy out of the room.
is almost impossible that Congress will pass the twelve bills that are
part of our budget. Give that, the next best choice is to
maintain the status quo, or impose a percentage cut until a budget deal
is cut. Planned Parenthood and Iran should not even be part of
deadline, however, has seemed to collide with the drama. There
are folks who understand that the budget, or some version of it, needs
to be approved by October 1. They just don’t plan to sacrifice
their dramatic moment by doing the right thing. Will government
shut down? Only if these presidential postures decide that their
drama trumps an important deadline.