Government shutdown and assigning blame: Claims versus truth

Facts about the government shutdown tell a different story than the claims being made by Capitol Hill Democrats. Let's get to the truth. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013 — The Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Barack Obama, are saying that the government shutdown is the fault of the Republicans. The mainstream media is regurgitating this talking point, particularly taking aim at the Tea Party.

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However, the facts about this government shutdown tell a different story than the claims being made in chorus by the Democrats on Capitol Hill, the leftist pundits and the mainstream media.

CLAIM: The Democrats want a budget.

In Sept. 2012, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that the Democrats had not passed a budget in three years. During the 2012 races, especially in the fall, Republican candidates repeated that statement while Democrat candidates said the claim was false. However, the often left-leaning PolitiFact Tennessee said that Corker’s claim was “true,” the highest ranking available on their truth-o-meter.

According to PolitiFact Tennessee:

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“The U.S. House passed seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills this year [2012] and sent them to the Senate for consideration, according to the status report by Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee. The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved 11 of the 12 spending bills and sent them to the full Senate for consideration. An independent search by PolitiFact via the Library of Congress’ Thomas bill-tracking website confirmed the figures cited in the GOP report. But none of the bills approved by the House or the Senate Appropriations Committee were ever brought to the Senate floor for a vote.”

The Majority Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid (D-NV) in this case, decides whether to bring bills to the floor for consideration.

In March 2013, the Senate voted 50-49 to pass a budget that hikes taxes by nearly $1 trillion. Even The New York Times acknowledged that this was its first budget in four years. As The New York Times explained, the Democrat-created budget in the Senate left the government with a “$566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.” By contrast, the Republican-led budget in the House balanced the budget by 2023. This could have been an opportunity for negotiations.

The GOP leadership in the House has passed a budget every year, as required.

CLAIM: The Democrats have been trying to negotiate with Republicans for six months, and the GOP leaders in Congress have refused.

It is true that the Senate Republicans blocked Leader Reid from setting up a conference committee on the budget back in April of this year, after the Senate passed a budget in March. However, the reason for doing so was not simply because the GOP did not want a conference committee. The real reason is that President Obama refused at the time to take tax increases off the table, saying they were a must. Knowing that the Republicans did not support any type of tax increase, GOP leadership simply said that there was no reason for the conference committee given that a parameter was already set in place that the GOP could not accept. In reality, Obama was not allowing for any compromise, making a demand before the negotiations even began.

CLAIM: The Senate Democrats will pass a “clean continuing resolution” if the House sends one over.

There is a need for a continuing resolution, a bill that extends the current budget for a certain period of time, because the Senate did not pass a budget from 2009-2012 and passed a budget this past spring that Senate Democrats did not even unanimously support. When the House has sent spending bills to the Senate, the Senate does not bring them to the floor.

Likewise, according to the House GOP, there are 40 jobs bills that the House has passed in recent years that the Senate does not bring to the floor.

Actually, many bills are passed in the House, but when they reach the Senate, the Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refuses to bring them to the floor. This is a pattern of Leader Reid’s that is now well-documented.

The House has passed three continuing resolutions recently, all of which are what would be considered to be “clean,” each containing one or two changes. The first CR defunded Obamacare, but was otherwise “clean.” The second CR funded Obamacare, but delayed the individual mandate and removed the medical device tax. The third CR also funded Obamacare, but called for equal treatment of individuals and members of Congress.

The House has voted now three times now in recent days to continue to keep government open. It is the Democrat-led Senate that has voted to table or reject these opportunities.

CLAIM: The Democrats do not want a government shutdown.

Leader Reid is saying that he will not negotiate with House Republicans unless he receives a continuing resolution (CR) that is “clean,” meaning, it does not make any changes. In particular, the CR must not make any changes to Obamacare.

The grade school translation is this: I will not negotiate with you until you pass the bill about which you want to negotiate, and you must first pass it under the terms that I want.

After that, the Democrats will negotiate with the Republicans about a bill that was already passed? We see what happens when Republicans want to change aspects of Obamacare, another bill that has already become law. The Democrats say “it is law,” and conversations do not even commence.

Just this morning, the Senate rejected a House proposal to go to conference committee where differences could be worked out to pass a CR. Democratic leadership in the Senate is unwilling to negotiate at all with Republicans in the House. And, while President Obama is negotiating with Syria, Russia and Iran, he did not reach out to Republican leadership until yesterday. Unlike his open-ended, “everything is on the table” conversations with leaders of other countries, he began his conversation with Speaker Boehner by saying that he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling.

In every case when the Democrats are supposedly attempting to negotiate with the Republicans, they start out by saying they will negotiate, but then they state that they will not negotiate on whatever the key Republican issue is. This is not how a negotiation works, making it clear that this is an intentional roose so they may claim they are attempting to negotiate, knowing that the mainstream media will regurgitate the talking point.

CLAIM: The Democrats have not received anything in the Senate that they can pass, so it is all the fault of the GOP leadership in the House.

The GOP-led House has passed three continuing resolutions and sent them to the Senate.

The Senate refused earlier today to form a conference committee, a process through which negotiations take place.

When the facts are reviewed, it is quite clear whose government shutdown this is. Calling this a Republican shutdown is not only disingenuous, but it is factually inaccurate. The left-leaning mainstream media continues to recycle the talking points sent by the Democratic Party that omit important pieces of information.

Republicans have passed multiple bills to keep the government open, and want to listen to the American people. The GOP has demonstrated its willingness to negotiate by sending three different versions of a CR to the Senate, and offering a conference committee. However, negotiations require two willing partners on the other side of the aisle in President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid.

Obama and Reid will not negotiate, and it is that unreasonable position that has caused the government shutdown. 


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Sara Marie Brenner

Sara Marie Brenner is the “conservatarian” host of The Sara Marie Brenner Show where she interviews A-list guests with passion. Brenner is the creator of, and a former Ohio-based reporter for Human Events where she had a voter-fraud story go viral on Drudge. In addition, she has written for Yahoo!, Watchdog Wire, The Brenner Brief and other media outlets. Brenner appeared with BlogCon attendees on The Glenn Beck Program in May 2013, and also works with right-of-center folks needing marketing, PR and social media services.

In her home city, she was elected to city council in 2009 and her husband, Andrew, is an Ohio State Representative. She is very active on social media, where she regularly engages with listeners and readers. A classically trained pianist and former musical theatre and opera performer, in her spare time she’s likely to be doing something creative, including nurturing her inner amateur chef.

Her motto (via Winston Churchill): “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood for something, sometime in your life.” 


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