Federal Budget

Government Shutdown Includes Brains, Apparently

Featured image Wolf Blitzer is one of the less annoying newsreaders on CNN (I know, that’s like being distinguished as the tallest building in Wichita*), but he proves himself a Connoisseur of the Obvious with his acknowledgement that shutting down the Obamacare websites for the weekend is “an embarrassment” for the administration: “An embarrassment for the administration,” Blitzer stated. “Hopefully, they’ll get all those glitches out of the way by Monday, if »

How the Dems Spin Their Own Shutdown Blunders For Money

Featured image On the fourth day of the partial government shutdown, things are getting tense in Washington. The Democrats were confident a shutdown would strengthen their political position, and it probably will; but they have overplayed their hand to the point where millions of Americans can see that the administration is deliberately trying to inconvenience the public in hopes of achieving political gain. That realization is making the Dems testy. So today »

More Madison on the Budget Fight

Featured image A couple days ago I brought to our attention James Madison’s thoughts on representative deliberation from Federalist #37, and why he wouldn’t be surprised at all about the current standoff in Congress. There’s another reflection of Madison that we should take on board as we watch the scene, but first a brief set up: Harold Pease argues that because all tax bills must originate in the House, per Article I, »

Another Grand Bargain? Let’s Hope Not

Featured image As Paul noted last night, the word in Washington is that John Boehner now hopes to escape from the current fiscal stalemate via a “grand bargain” that will include raising the debt ceiling in conjunction with some sort of entitlement and tax reform. I have written many times that I oppose fiscal grand bargains, especially when they are crafted in secrecy, in the middle of the night and in an »

Man the Barry-cades!

Featured image John has already noted here the extreme efforts the Obama Administration is taking to inconvenience the public by closing even the privately-operated Claude Moore Farm in suburban Virginia.  What about Mount Vernon?  Mount Vernon has long been privately owned and operated, and moreover, was always the one local attraction open to tourists on federal holidays.  But because Mount Vernon abuts the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Obama Administration is trying »

The WWII Memorial: More Guards Than At Benghazi

Featured image That’s right: the Obama administration dispatched more security guards to prevent World War II veterans from visiting the wide-open WWII memorial on the Mall than it stationed in Benghazi, notwithstanding the American Ambassador’s pleas for better security. Paul Bedard has the story: The National Park Service is sending so many officials out to shut down federal parks that it might have to suspend furloughs if the government closure continues. Two »

Obama to Veterans: Get Out Of My Park!

Featured image President Obama’s barricading of the World War II memorial on the Mall, to keep out veterans who had long planned visits to the memorial, was one of the dumbest PR moves of all time. This was seen on Lucianne earlier today: The image was accompanied by this comment: WW II VETS: Normandy was also closed when we got there!!! The conventional wisdom is that Republicans are better at policy, and »

Harry Reid, the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Featured image I have often wondered about Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi: is it possible that the other Democrats in Congress are even dumber? This seems inconceivable, yet they elect Reid and Pelosi to be their leaders. Today Reid helped out the Republicans again. What precipitated Reid’s breakdown was that the House Republicans have taken my advice (and that of many others, of course) and are now enacting a series of bills »

Democrats Pay Union Members to Protest World War II Vets

Featured image It appears that the Obama administration is violating the First Rule of Holes. Yesterday the administration looked awful when it “closed” and barricaded the World War II memorial on the Mall. The memorial is, by its nature, open. There is nothing to close. And the administration knows that every day, tour groups consisting of WWII vets, now mostly in their late 80s or early 90s, come to Washington to visit »

James Madison on the Budget Impasse

Featured image It’s a favorite parlor game: what would the Founders think of our current government, and in particular, the current budget showdown.  Jacob Heilbrunn, in typical liberal derision of the institutions of limited self-government, thinks we should abolish Congress. More likely, James Madison would not be at all surprised at what is going on.  As he wrote in Federalist #37: “It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures »

Barack Obama’s Misplaced Priorities [Updated]

Featured image I noted earlier tonight that today’s votes in the House on partial funding of government operations were political theater. But that doesn’t put them on the same degraded plane as the Obama administration’s barricading of national monuments to keep veterans from visiting them. Glenn Reynolds has the links. A group of veterans from Mississippi knocked down barriers around the World War II memorial that the administration erected to dramatize that »

Democrats’ Hypocrisy Exposed, But Does It Matter? [Updated]

Featured image Tonight House Republicans offered a series of measures to restore funding to the national parks, District of Columbia operations and veterans’ services. But House Democrats voted against all three measures, sending them down to defeat. So the Democrats’ hypocrisy is revealed: they wring their hands over those poor Americans who want to visit the parks, but when they have the opportunity to fund the parks, they turn it down. Of »

Defunding Obamacare: A Better Idea [Updated]

Featured image Over the last few days, a number of people have suggested a different approach that House Republicans might have taken, and might still take, toward the spending impasse. That is, to break discretionary spending down into a number of separate packages, perhaps corresponding to the various federal agencies, and pass them independently. The House might have begun, for example, by passing a continuing resolution that would fund the Defense Department »

It Looks Like a Long Night

Featured image The House has passed its latest government funding proposal, which would also delay Obamacare’s individual mandate by one year, and cancel taxpayer subsidies for health insurance for Congressmen and their staffs and senior political appointees in the executive branch. This latest measure passed on a 228-201 vote. For what it’s worth, the Republicans are now picking up a few more Democratic votes. Nine Democrats voted with the majority this time. »

How the Other Side Sees the Shutdown Battle

Featured image I’ve been getting inundated with fundraising emails from the Democrats over the last few days, each one more hysterical than the last. This one ostensibly came from Barack Obama, on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: From: Barack Obama Subject: This has gone too far John – This has gone too far. House Republicans are threatening to shut down the government — and potentially default on our bills for »

A Boehner Blunder?

Featured image I’m afraid so. Yesterday the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the next few months, with multiple riders: a one-year delay in Obamacare, repeal of the medical device tax, protection of servicemen’s salaries, and postponement of Obamacare’s requirement that employers pay for their employees’ birth control. The House package violates the most basic principle of negotiation: you should bargain for something that 1) you want, »

Today’s Senate Votes, and What Lies Ahead

Featured image Today’s votes in the Senate were rather anticlimactic. Harry Reid pursued his announced strategy of bringing the House’s continuing resolution, which defunds Obamacare, up for a vote. The cloture motion passed 79-19, a disappointment to some conservatives who had hoped for more “no” votes. (A Senate staffer told me today that cloture opponents had hoped for 25 “no” votes.) The senators who voted “No” were Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz »