As I watched us careen into a government closure and toward a failure to address our creditworthiness; I am sure that many wonder how we arrived here. Since 2011 when House leadership changed we have endured four continuing resolutions, three debt ceilings including the approaching one, and one fiscal cliff. Eight self-imposed budgetary crises in 30 months translate to negative market impacts repeating every four months. This is financial insanity in an advanced society and should be especially discredited among those who demand market certainty to produce jobs.
Ignoring motivation and debating points, procedurally this government closure resulted from actions and inactions dating to March 2013. Since 2011 congressional Republicans supported by Reps. Hartzler and Luetkemeyer repeatedly passed a version of the Ryan Budget, which the Senate routinely rejected. After being relentlessly pilloried for failing to produce a budget, the Senate in March 2013 passed a budget.
Now is where it gets incomprehensible. Sen. Cruz (R-Texas) objected to appointing conferees to meet with the House counterparts and maintained that objection until the legislative process could only function through a CR. In April, 2013, Democrats in the House requested Speaker Boehner appoint at least the House counterparts to the conference. He refused 18 requests to do so since April. And thus our government for this fourth time is compelled to address expenditures through a CR.
Functionally, a few Republican senators and the Republican speaker prevented the system from working. Functionally, Republicans goaded and criticized Democrats in the Senate for not producing a budget and then made the effort worthless. Procedurally and by design the two houses of Congress should have been having this fight in April.
I said I would not address motivation but there are key players in this drama that controlled events and dictated legislative possibilities. For whatever reason, Sen. Cruz with his allies and Speaker Boehner forced us down the chute to this predicament.
As for the misguided effort by House Republicans to use four so-called offers to the Senate all of which included alternative methods of rolling back the ACA, the vast majority of Americans reject this strategy. As for the proposition that Democrats need to compromise more, the simple fact is Democrats made a major concession at the beginning of the CR process by accepting the sequester budget number Republicans demanded. This was avoidable and all for only 45 days of funding.
Much to learn here.