It Doesn't Matter Who America Blames For the Government Shutdown


There is little hope for a last-minute agreement between the Senate and House to continue funding the government, which is set to shut down at 12:01am Tuesday morning. If this happens, Republicans would be largely to blame, according to a CNN/ORC poll that reports 46% of American feel Republicans are "acting like spoiled children." Another 36% stated that the president would be to blame, and 13% point fingers at both for the lack of compromise.

Whether the halls of Congress are quiet with partisan resentment or buzzing with chatter of a possible continuing resolution to further delay the budget argument, does it really matter who is to blame for this fiscal conundrum?

Republicans are partially to blame for their insistence that the budget include provisions that defund, or at least delay, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare). The quandary lies in that Obamacare passed both houses of Congress in 2010 and was later upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. Republican backtracking runs against two-thirds of Americans who do not support repealing, defunding, or delaying it. The same group of American's are skeptical of the law's promises, but still maintain it should be given a chance to succeed.

Democrats, specifically the president, have failed in hoarding the legislation from bicameral compromise. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) correctly points out that Obama's all-or-nothing approach is also part of the equation as there is no opportunity to meaningfully improve the law with bipartisan input. Rand went on to say that Obama is comfortable fixing the law on his own "having amended it probably 15 times already, but without legislative approval."

Depending on whether or not the shutdown occurs, how it effects the market and our national debt, or if Congress adds time to the clock through a continuing resolution, these bare-bones facts may or may not have a great impact on voting in the next election. Even though both parties have incentives to bring the shutdown to the brink, neither would benefit from it. The reputation of the Republican Party as rational, trustworthy politicians is at stake.

Concerned citizens should remember that the budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 was submitted seven months ago. One of Congress' primary duties is setting the national budget. It has not done so ably in several years, which further contributes to the image of general Congressional incompetence. Voters should consider this when thinking about the next term's leadership.