The Republicans have used the budget battles as a way to force the President to negotiate over amending the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform law more commonly known at Obamacare, but the Democrats refuse to bargain. Joseph Morris, general counsel for the Office of Personnel Management during the Reagan Administration points out that Reagan negotiated with the House Democrats several times.
In order to force a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government temporarily, House Democrats were mulling filing a discharge petition, which brings a piece of legislation to the Floor for a vote. The catch is that to achieve a majority a bunch of Republicans would have to cross their leadership to vote for it. A couple prominent moderate Republicans have recently said they would not sign a discharge petition.
Earlier today we published our latest blog post arguing that not observing regular order in the legislative process creates an atmosphere of unpredictability and uncertainty which is harmful for both parties. You can, of course, argue that the parties welcome such an atmosphere to improve their electoral prospects. Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics criticizes the permanent, scorched-earth campaigns that necessarily affect the way Washington governs.
(You should read our blog post too. It’s wicked good.)
The country knew things were bad when Senate Chaplain Barry Black started using his morning prayers to goad the Senators to resolving the shutdown, but it’s even gotten so bad that Richard Simmons is weighing in on the crisis.