The Government Shutdown: How Did We Get Here?

The current Continuing Resolution to fund the government expired, resulting in a government shutdown. This outcome could have been avoided but, unfortunately, repeatedly throughout this process, the Senate refused to negotiate in good faith, and the President refused to negotiate at all. After rejecting three previous attempts to fund the government by the House, the Senate rejected a motion to go to a conference committee, which could have led to a compromise. The Senate and the President have made it very clear: it is their way or the highway.

How did we get here? Two weeks ago, the House voted on a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government while permanently repealing Obamacare. The Senate rejected that vote. So, the House proposed a compromise bill to fund the government while delaying Obamacare and a medical device tax that is killing jobs across America for one year. I also voted in support of this compromise bill. Regrettably, with a shutdown looming, the Senate took Sunday off. Instead of offering its own compromise, the other chamber tabled the House compromise bill.

The House voted on yet another bill to keep the government open. This included a one year delay of the individual mandate. The President already gave big business a break from Obamacare; the American people deserve the same treatment. The bill would have also ensured that Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, the Cabinet and all federal staff are treated the same under Obamacare. This is a fairness issue. Everyone should treated the same way. At the very least, the creator of Obamacare – the President - should be subject to his own law. Unfortunately, the Senate disagreed and killed yet another bill.

Throughout all of this, President Obama has been missing in action. He found time to negotiate with Iran, a sworn enemy of the United States. He negotiated with the Russians over Syria. But, instead of finding time to negotiate with Congress, he spent Saturday afternoon on the golf course. He has refused to negotiate with the House, opting instead to deliver divisive attacks in press conferences. Per usual, the President blames everyone but himself. The President’s failure to lead from the top has been the driving force behind the deeply divided state of our government.

The House has repeatedly offered reasonable proposals to keep the government open. The Senate and the President refused to come to the table. We got here because the President and Senate Democrats have really wanted this outcome all along.


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