One of the favorite Republican arguments for the last four years has been this one: While the Republicans have repeatedly passed a budget in the House, the Democrats, well, chose not to.
And Republicans were right — the Democratic-controlled Senate voted the House budgets down but never sent one of their own to the House.
Harry Reid and Company simply didn’t do their jobs.
Until this year. In March, the Democratic majority Senate actually passed a budget, and sent it to the House. Of course, it was a no-go.
And, like the last few years, our government’s careened from one CR to the next.
Continuing Resolution. An act by Congress that temporarily continues the government funding in lieu of an actual budget for the president to sign.
Which is what we’re dealing with in the current crisis. Should Congress pass what’s called a “clean” CR or should it be attached to repealing, or defunding or delaying Obamacare?
House Republicans, of course, have voted 43 times to defund or repeal Obamacare, each time knowing that their votes were solely symbolic.
And during that time, those same Republicans provided not a single alternative, even though they agree that our health care system needs reform.
So here we are as I write, in the midst of a government shutdown, in large part because the House Republicans refuse to pass the “clean” CR the Senate sent them.
All summer we heard from these Republicans that there would be no compromise, that compromise was the latest four-letter word for the tea party contingent.
And they’ve been true to that. Take our budget. In normal procedure, when the House and Senate have different budgets, a “Conference Committee” is formed, one where a compromise is sought.
That’s the way our Congress has worked for over a century.
But not this year. Because enough Congressional Republicans refused to have a “Conference Committee” unless they had assurances beforehand that no new revenue would be part of the budget.
So, for them, it was either my way or the highway.
But suddenly, in the last hours prior to the shutdown, the same Republicans became big fans of compromise, even — gulp — using the word.
Yep, literally in the 11th hour, House Republicans called for a “Conference Committee” to work out the differences.
Something the Democrats have been calling for for eight months. Something the Republicans have refused to do. Until now.
All of this, of course, comes because of Republicans’ desire to kill Obamacare. With all their theatrics — the speeches, the fauxilbuster by Texas demagogue Ted Cruz — the dirty little secret they don’t want their fans to know is this:
Almost all of the Obamacare budgeting is mandatory. All of the delays they’ve called for won’t stop the funding.
Republicans are in full retreat right now, having been led off the cliff by their pied pipers in the media and in Congress. Now they’re scrambling for anything.
Look, we all know any plan as ambitious as the Affordable Care Act will have many problems with it at the beginning, problems that in a saner time could be hashed out in Congress. We all know that won’t happen.
But as George Bush said after the 2004 campaign, “Elections have consequences.”
And the consequences of the last two presidential elections have resulted in a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate.
Republicans want to change or eliminate Obamacare? Elect Republican Senators. Or better, elect a reasonable tea party Republican as President. Of course, no such animal exists, including the latest party darling, Cruz, the Texas demagogue. “Reasonable tea party Republican.”
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.