Posts Tagged ‘government shutdown’
October 10th, 2013 at 7:21 pm
Obama Can’t Get Out of His Own Way
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Watching President Obama blunder his way through the government shutdown and the debt ceiling fight has been jaw-dropping. The president can’t seem to score political points even when the other side is fumbling the ball in their own end zone.

Regardless of what you think of the GOP’s tactics going into the shutdown, the polling has been pretty clear that Republicans are shouldering more of the blame than Democrats. All Obama had to do to capitalize was get out of their way.

Instead, his OMB imposed a series of petty, penny ante shutdowns on locations like the open-air World War II Memorial. The resulting anger from the public has led to plans for a Million Vet March on the mall this weekend. To add insult to injury, police actually removed a man from the Lincoln Memorial grounds yesterday who was voluntarily mowing the grass so that it would look nice for America’s veterans. And this whole drama is playing out within a week or so of Harry Reid’s gaffe making it sound like Democrats weren’t interested in funding research to help children with cancer. When you’re offending World War II vets and terminally ill kids, you’re generally doing politics wrong.

The theatrics are little more than a sideshow, however — and that’s probably the reason they haven’t moved the polls any. We’re now coming to the point, though, when the two sides are negotiating over the real substance of these issues. Just a little while ago, the New York Times put up a story saying that the President had rejected a Republican offer to pass a six-week extension of the debt ceiling. In the time it’s taken me to draft this post, they’ve changed it to say only that they’ve “failed to reach agreement” and that both sides are still talking.

If Obama has any sense, he’ll take this deal. The Republican willingness to pass a short-term fix to the debt ceiling represents an acknowledgment that the consequences of not doing so are decidedly more dangerous that those attending a government shutdown (have you noticed that life hasn’t been much different while official Washington is on hiatus?). If the President shoots it down, he will begin to look like the absolutist and he will seem like the one who’s playing Russian roulette with the country in order to bolster his political standing. With any other president, it’d be unfathomable. Obama, however, has a special gift for unforced errors.

October 4th, 2013 at 7:37 pm
One More Reason to Love the Government Shutdown
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Regardless of what you think of the political strategy at work, the federal shutdown we’ve been enduring over the last few days has been an object lesson in how much government we could cut without ever missing it — as I detail in my column this week. In the piece, I look primarily at the bloat in the federal employment rolls, but today brings some underreported news on another key metric: federal regulations.

Last year, the federal government completed work on 1,172 new regulations (less than 30 percent of the full portfolio it was working on). That comes out to about 23 new regulations every week, many of them with massive price tags attached (57 of last year’s new regs were estimated to have costs of at least $100 million apiece). Thus, this bit of news from The Hill is a pure delight:

The Federal Register is practically dried up due to the ongoing government shutdown. There are only two new rules announced for Monday’s edition, and both of them are relatively minor.

The two rules? One limits the hauls of vermillion snapper that commercial fisherman can take in through the rest of the year; the other sets up a temporary safety zone around a bridge in Texas where the Coast Guard is making repairs. Were that this was the way the Federal Register looked every week.

October 4th, 2013 at 6:00 pm
The White House Fishes for Shutdown Sob Stories

The Obama Administration seems happy to continue its despicable tactic of making the government shutdown seem more harsh than it actually is (including barricading access to the open-air WWII Memorial,ordering the service academies to suspend all intercollegiate athletic events and forcing a privately funded colonial living history farm to close its doors).

At the same time that the Administration is locking doors, barricading entrances and sending people home unnecessarily, the White House is staffing up its website and pleading with Americans to send in dramatic stories of how the government shutdown impacted them.

Apparently Obama and Co. are going to use the sob stories to vilify Republicans and tug at the heartstrings of Americans in the hopes ending the shutdown – or, more likely, score political points.

It’ll be interesting to see what stories are released. It’ll be even more interesting to find out if the stories that are released are actually real.

October 2nd, 2013 at 1:18 pm
Obama Administration Forces Living History Farm to Close – Even Though it Receives No Federal Money

In a disgusting PR stunt intended to sensationalize the government shutdown, the federal government barricaded a small living history farm and museum in McLean, Va., and ordered it closed – even though the historical reenactment site receives no federal resources to operate.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm uses costumed interpreters and authentic recreations of period clothes, tools and buildings to transport visitors to 1770s Colonial America. At least that’s what the Farm did until Tuesday when the National Park Service ordered law enforcement personnel to remove staff and volunteers from the property and barricaded the facility due to the government shutdown.  The Farm sits on NPS land but is operated entirely with private funds.

In an email to supporters, Anna Eberly, the managing director of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, called the government’s decision to close the facility “utter crap.”

“In previous budget dramas, the Farm has always been exempted since the NPS provides no staff or resources to operate the Farm,” Eberly wrote. “In all the [46] years I have worked with the National Park Service … I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS.”

Eberly said that Farm administrators pleaded with the NPS to remain open, but “Every appeal our Board of Directors made to the NPS administration was denied.”

In her email, Eberly points out that closing the Farm actually costs the federal government money, while taxpayers would pay nothing if the facility remained open:

We have operated the Farm successfully for 32 years after the NPS cut the Farm from its budget in 1980 and are fully staffed and prepared to open today. But there are barricades at the Pavilions and entrance to the Farm. And if you were to park on the grass and visit on your own, you run the risk of being arrested. Of course, that will cost the NPS staff salaries to police the Farm against intruders while leaving it open will cost them nothing.

“You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money,” she said.

By forcing law enforcement personnel to shutter a historical reenactment site meant to educate children about our nation’s history in order to make the government shutdown seem worse than it actually is, the Obama Administration has sunk to new lows.

September 30th, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Democrats Will Risk a Government Shutdown in Defense of THIS?
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Another day, another front-page headline announcing yet another ObamaCare dysfunction.  At CFIF we’ve detailed the ongoing litany, and today brought another in that inglorious procession.  Yet the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats remain willing to force a government shutdown defending it?

Page A1 of today’s Wall Street Journal reads, “Late Snags On Eve Of Health Rollout” with the law’s debut set for tomorrow:

Obama Administration officials scrambling to get the health law’s insurance marketplaces ready to open on Tuesday keep hitting technical problems, while government-funded field workers across the country say they aren’t fully prepared to help Americans enroll in the program.”

Meanwhile, in a separate report on the looming government shutdown, the Journal examines which federal agencies would be affected.  It highlights that mail delivery would continue, Social Security checks would still be mailed, transportation functions such as air traffic control and Amtrak would continue and national security services would be exempt.  So who would be hit?  Well, the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), among others:

Which agencies would be most affected?

The Environmental Protection Agency would be among the most disrupted, furloughing all but 1,069 of its 16,200 workers, according to plans that agencies filed with the White House.  The National Labor Relations Board would send home all but 11 of its 1,611 employees, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would furlough 652 of its 680 employees.  Agencies devoted to national security and human safety would remain more fully staffed.”

Wait…  Remind me again why a shutdown is a bad thing for conservatives and libertarians?

September 25th, 2013 at 4:32 pm
This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
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Lost in all of the other drama surrounding the possibility of a government shutdown beginning next week (zero hour is October 1) is this fact: the city of Washington D.C., whose budget is appropriated by Congress (though most of the revenue is raised within the city), will also have to scale back its operations should a continuing resolution not get approved. Or at least everyone except lunatic D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray thinks so. From WAMU in D.C.:

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray today declared that the city’s 32,000 employees were all “essential” and should be allowed to remain on the job during a possible federal government shutdown that could start next week.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Burwell, Gray wrote: “I have determined that all operations of the District of Columbia are ‘excepted’ activities essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property and therefore will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations.”

32,000 employees and not a single one can be spared? Let’s be honest: the city’s going to be a simmering urban hellhole either way. Why not at least save some coin for a few days?

July 6th, 2011 at 6:26 pm
Minnesota Governor Shuts Down the State to Raise Taxes

Annette Meeks, CEO of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, offers this damning editorial of Democratic Governor Mark Dayton’s decision to shut down the state’s government rather than sign a balanced budget without tax increases.

Among the bevy of withering arguments against Dayton’s action, Meeks points out that the budget passed by the legislature actually increased state spending by 6 percent while filling a $5 billion deficit.  The problem for Dayton: no soak-the-rich “millionaires’ tax.”

Like President Barack Obama with the nation’s debt ceiling, Governor Dayton is playing a dangerous game for the sake of fiscal discrimination.  Moreover, Dayton is unwilling to consider the state equivalent of a continuing budget resolution.

I’ll give Meeks the last word:

Last week, Republican legislative leaders, in a desperate move to stave off closing the government, proposed a “lights on” budget resolution that would have allowed services to continue while negotiations continued. In a crass, cynical move, Dayton rejected this good-natured offer.

We are here for one reason — Dayton. He insists upon inflicting as much pain as possible for state residents and government employees. And he is doing this so that the Legislature will bend to his will and raise income taxes, launching Minnesota into the stratosphere of high income taxes.

There are certain principles worth fighting for. Preserving a sound economic future for our state is one of those things.

April 7th, 2011 at 10:01 am
Ramirez Cartoon – Obama: Time to Start Acting Like Adults…Or We’re Going to Shut the Government Down
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Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez illustrates Obama’s posturing on the ongoing congressional budget negotiations and the pending government shutdown.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

March 17th, 2011 at 7:41 pm
House GOP Leaders Losing on Two Fronts

There’s a confrontation brewing between fiscal conservatives in the House GOP caucus and their leadership over how best to handle the budget crisis.  House leadership wants to keep negotiating while passing short-term spending bills to avoid a shutdown.  Fiscal conservatives like Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) are voting No and getting killed for it.

Pence is fighting back.

“I have no doubt that Speaker John Boehner and Republican Leader Eric Cantor and the rest of our leadership will privately, and if needs be, publicly denounce any effort to essentially bad mouth the intentions of Republicans that are simply fighting for fiscal responsibility,” the former GOP conference chair said Thursday morning on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

It’s funny to hear that the House leadership is fuming at fiscal conservatives for voting their principles when those same leaders say that the latest budget extension is the last one.  With House leadership moving towards the fiscal conservatives’ position, maybe leadership is just ticked that they’re losing negotiations with both Democrats and Republicans.

March 15th, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Overexposed Obama Undercutting Seriousness of the Presidency

No one begrudges a man his pastimes, but veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler wonders whether President Barack Obama might be better off canceling his upcoming ESPN appearance and focusing – at least in public – on any number of world crises.

This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes.

Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course as president, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.

With various urgencies swirling about him, Saturday’s weekly videotaped presidential address focusing on “Women’s History Month” seemed bizarrely out of touch.

Koffler also notes the growing concern among members of Congress that Obama is AWOL in the deficit reduction debate, seemingly content to let the legislative branch decide whether to shut down the government if negotiations fail on Friday.

Forget debating whether this president is able to make the right decision when he gets a 3am phone call.  So far, it looks like he can’t maintain focus during his regular workday.

February 28th, 2011 at 11:12 am
Voters Favor Gov’t Shutdown Over Keeping Spending at Current Levels

As the congressional standoff over budget cuts heats up in Washington D.C., both Republicans and Democrats are seemingly scrambling to reach a compromise to avoid a government shutdown.  But is compromise what the American people want?

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, 58% of likely voters “would rather have a partial shutdown of the federal government than keep its spending at current levels. “  A mere 33% would prefer Congress agree to maintain last year’s spending level in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Broken out by party affiliation, Rasmussen found that:

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats prefer avoiding a shutdown by going with current spending levels. But 80% of Republicans — and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party — think a shutdown is a better option until the two sides can agree on spending cuts.

Read the complete top-line survey results here.

February 25th, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Dems Are Wrong to Think Govt. Shutdown is a Win for Them

Not so fast, says Fox News columnist Chris Stirewalt.  An important difference between the 1995 shutdown that empowered President Bill Clinton was the lack of public anxiety over the $4.97 trillion debt.  Now, it’s $14 trillion plus, “a sum equal to the size of our entire economy.”

If Democrats in Washington make the same miscalculation as Democrats in Wisconsin, they will suffer brutally at the next election.  Shutting down the government in favor of public employee unions or unsustainable federal spending is a fool’s strategy.  With President Barack Obama and party leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) daring House Republicans to stand firm on budget cuts, expect to see thousands of pro-shutdown protestors flood Washington if government buildings go dark.

If dormant long enough, perhaps some of those buildings – and the agencies that house them – will never be revived.  The debt and spending issues are more important now than in 1995.  If Democrats fail to realize that, they may help hasten a reduction in government overall.