I’m still fuming. I just called Senator Roy Blunt to let him know how insulted I am by an email I received from him today. In this ugly, dishonest little missive, Blunt attempts to preemptively weasel out from under the blame if his party’s intransigence results in a government shutdown.
After the lunatic fringe of the GOP refused to allow weak-kneed John Boehner to negotiate in good faith with the Senate and the White House, after they continuously pushed the goal post ever further in the direction of their ill-considered cuts, after they insisted on saddling the budget – a financial document – with narrow, unrelated, ideological riders about abortion and health care reform among other minority causes, Blunt dares to make the following statement:
I believe that a government shutdown is not the answer. But we have a responsibility to ensure Washington is living within its means, just like every family and job creator in Missouri and across America. On Monday night, House Republicans posted a bill that would keep the government open for a week after Friday’s deadline, while cutting $12 billion over the seven days. Yet Senate Democrats and President Obama failed to reach an agreement, raising the risk for our federal government to close at the end of this week.
Make no mistake – we’re in this predicament because Senate Democrats abdicated their duties and failed to pass a budget last year. The Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to come to the table to make real budget cuts is not a responsible solution, and we simply cannot continue spending money that we don’t have.
If Blunt really opposes a government shutdown, he knows what he can do – use his influence to get his party’s zealots to understand that the American people will not support government by tantrum. As for his claim that Senate Democrats have abdicated their duties – well, from my perspective (and that of the Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold and Amy Gardner), it’s the GOP cheering on a shutdown play. The President and the Democratic members of Senate seem to have been all too patient with the peanut gallery idiocy coming from the House of Representatives – and I bet lots of Americans will agree.
As for the ideologically inspired cuts that the Republicans are pushing (while refusing to raise taxes on obscenely rich Americans), they are not only directly harmful to working Americans, but, if enacted, they will, according to the respected Moody’s Investors Service, lead to a loss of up to 700,000 jobs, which will, in turn, threaten our nascent economic recovery. And to add insult to injury, nobody can argue with a straight face that cutting discretionary spending will have any effect on the deficit. If these folks really cared about deficit spending, they have an easy remedy. They could just allow the Bush tax cuts to expire – which, contrary to their claims, would do little harm to the economy – certainly not as much as the cuts they propose – and it would halve the deficit by 2021.
And guess what? Roy Blunt knows this – he may be corrupt, but I’m willing to bet he’s not stupid. And do you know what else? He clearly doesn’t care. It’s a safe bet that he’s not in government to serve the people who elected him, but to cater to the real powers in the U.S., the corporate/business lobby, and they, of course, just love where the GOP is taking us – low taxes for the wealthy and corporations and a cheap, desperate labor force that will make no waves.
I would suggest that if you are worried about the repercussions of a government shut-down, you too should phone Senator Blunt, the sooner the better. Let him know that if he really opposes a government shutdown, he should take a firm stand and face down the not-too-bright, ideologically driven, Tea Party crazies in his own party. It is ugly to blame the other guy when we all know where blame should rightly be apportioned.
Blunt’s Washington Phone Number is 1-202-224-5721. There is a very pleasant-voiced staff person taking calls – I hope to God he gets lots and lots over the next few days.
Addendum: Here’s Steve Benen on the Continuing Resolution that the House is now proposing, after declaring they never, never would allow anymore CR’s, and which Blunt’s email above refers to “a bill that would keep the government open for a week after Friday’s deadline, while cutting $12 billion over the seven days”:
Just yesterday, these same GOP lawmakers changed course. They now want a one-week, short-gap continuing resolution. If it were a sincere effort, Republicans could craft a “clean” CR, without extraneous measures or poison-pill provisions. Instead, this new plan would cut $12 billion in a week, but would also fund the Pentagon for the rest of the fiscal year.
In this transparent stunt, Republicans have begun calling this their “troop funding bill.” It has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer — the GOP has designed this to fail, so they can (a) argue Dems are to blame for the Republicans’ shutdown; and (b) accuse Dems of not supporting the troops
Benen’s got it right – and ol’ Roy’s the proof – he couldn’t wait to get his exculpatory email out there so we’d know it was the bad ol’ Democrats fault.