It is a basic rule of politics that if there is a government shutdown, it is the Republicans’ fault. If a Republican president or governor vetoes Democratic spending bills and portions of the government are briefly shuttered, it is the Republicans’ fault. Conversely, if a Republican Congress or legislature passes spending bills that a Democratic president or governor vetoes because they are not large enough, it is also the Republicans’ fault.
We now see this pattern play out in Washington, where the Democrats control the presidency, the House and the Senate, and still don’t seem to be able to pass a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government, or to increase the current debt ceiling. Notwithstanding the Democrats’ control of all levers of power, the resulting embarrassment is blamed on the GOP. Thus, Politico writes:
Senate Republicans sank Democrats’ plans to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling together on Monday evening, sending Democratic leaders scrambling to avoid a government shutdown that would kick in Friday morning.
Senate Republicans sank the plan? Read on:
The GOP rejected a proposal to fund the government into December and lift the debt ceiling past next year’s midterms, a vote that needed the support of 10 Republicans to advance over a GOP filibuster. But only a handful of GOP senators even considered it, and the bill appeared doomed for days. The bill failed, 48-50, and no Republicans supported it.
The issue, obviously, is that the Democrats couldn’t get all of their members to back the CR and the increase in the debt ceiling. If the Democrats had all been on board with the proposal, it could have been included in their reconciliation package and passed regardless of what Republicans did. But in the absence of Democratic consensus, the Republicans declined to bail Chuck Schumer out.
To be fair, the Democrats understand that their attempt to blame their own failures on Republicans won’t fly:
Democrats are hinting they’re willing to drop the debt ceiling from their government funding package this week in order to avoid a government shutdown, a sign that their slim majorities are eager to avoid a shuttered federal government on their watch.
Still, the Democrats can always count on their most crazed partisans to spin events their way. Like the New York Times:
Given that the Democrats control the presidency, the House and the Senate, one might think that the current impasse will test the truism that all government shutdowns are the responsibility of Republicans. But that adage will hold, if you rely on over-the-top left-wing news sources like the New York Times.