For those of you following along with the budget negotiations in Washington, here’s a handy look at the playbook Democrats are using to block spending cuts needed to end the uncertainty facing job creators:
STEP 1: Refuse to pass a bill that cuts spending and funds the government for the rest of this fiscal year. This step is right out of 2010 when Democrats didn't even propose a budget (the reason we're in this mess to begin with), leaving the government spending binge on auto-pilot. The House took a step toward fixing this nearly 40 days ago when it passed H.R. 1 – but again, to date, the Senate still hasn’t passed a bill of its own. If you think back to elementary school, both houses of Congress have to pass a bill in order for it to become a law. So every time you see Democratic leaders on TV talking about a government shutdown (step 2) or labeling spending cuts as “extreme” (step 3), remember, Senate Democrats haven't even passed a bill.
STEP 2: Root for a government shutdown. Call it the “Howard Dean Rule.” The former chairman of the DNC and “a de facto head of his party's left wing“ told National Journal that Democrats should be “quietly rooting” for a government shutdown. Well, they're listening. Washington Democrats have been ignoring Americans who want spending cuts and cheering for a shutdown for months. Aides to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called a shutdown “more likely than not.” And by failing to actually pass a bill to fund the government through September (step 1), Washington Democrats are the ones making their shutdown all the more likely.
STEP 3: Paint the spending cuts the American people want as “extreme.” Stanford economist John B. Taylor said the funding bill passed by the House has spending cuts that “will increase economic growth and employment,” and “encourage job-producing private sector investment.” But Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Democrats have their marching orders: to label spending cuts needed to boost our economy as “extreme.” “I always use the word extreme,” said Senator Schumer. No word on whether they think a spending-driven $14 trillion debt crisis is too “extreme.” And remember, since they still haven't passed a long-term funding bill (step 1), it's hard to know which spending cuts Democrats don't think are “extreme.”
In a great op-ed for the Washington Times, Charles Hurt says Democrats are “blaming House Republicans and the ‘extreme’ voters they represent for a crisis” Democrats have been instrumental in creating. Hurt says this “strategy is exactly the opposite of the open and honest manner in which House Speaker John A. Boehner conducted last month’s spending debate in the House.”
The evidence is clear: the Republican-led House has taken action to keep the government running and cut spending. It’s time for the Democrat-led Senate to do its job and pass a bill too.