The Real Problem With Funding the GovernmentApril 7, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
After meeting late Wednesday night with House Speaker John Boehner [R, OH-8], Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] took to the floor this morning and said that agreeing on a topline budget number isn’t the thing blocking a deal on preventing a government shutdown Friday night, it’s social policy. “Our differences are no longer over the savings we get on government spending, Reid said. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”
When the House passed the budget bill, the Republican majority added an unprecedented number of policy riders to it, touching on just about every major political issue you can think of. While budgets always affect social policy, decisions on which programs to cut and which to fund should be made in the regular appropriations process that allows for committee review and public input. Of course, the Democrats failed to complete the appropriations process last year when they controlled Congress, and that’s why we now have to do the budget through a continuing resolution. But that doesn’t justify the Republicans bypassing congressional deliberation and public review now.
For a taste of the policy riders that are currently in the budget bill and preventing the Democrats and Republicans from reaching a deal, I’ve highlighted a dozen or so below. Links go to the actual legislative text of the riders.
- defunding Planned Parenthood.
- defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund NPR, PBS and other public media.
- blocking EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
- blocking funds for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- blocking the FCC from implementing their open internet rules.
- blocking Education Department from implementing a program that would restrict federal student aid to for-profit colleges whose students have high debt-to-income ratios.
- defunding implementation of all provisions of the new health care law.
- blocking an Interior Department effort to protect public natural spaces.
- blocking funding of a new “consumer products complaints database.”
- blocking the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US for any reason.
- blocking the payment of salaries for 9 Obama Administration policy advisers.