The Kabuki theater that is the debate over the federal budget took a weird turn this afternoon. The GOP-led House of Representatives passed HR 1255, the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act.” The measure is largely symbolic…it states that if the Democrat-led Senate and President Obama don’t act on $61 billion in cuts passed earlier this year by the House, those cuts would be ‘law of the land.’ Which, obviously, doesn’t hold any water. This isn’t too far away from when Democrats proposed “deeming” ObamaCare passed.
The House GOP Leadership, however, did add something to their legislation that should give pause to all conservatives. They grafted onto their bill a Democrat proposal to suspend pay for members of Congress if there is a government shutdown. So, if members believe that the budget cuts “negotiated” by GOP Leadership are too small or think we should finally face up to the inevitable tough choices, they potentially could lose their pay.
I think Rep. McCotter summed it up best:
This is entirely, 100% wrong. GOP Leadership has sent a clear message to its members: go along with really small, incremental cuts on the margin, or we won’t pay you. Don’t even think about forcing a debate over the fundamental budget challenges we face…which would lead to a government shutdown…or you will be punished.
Skirmishes are all well and good…but eventually you have to engage in actual battle. GOP Leadership has sent a clear message: “We prefer not to.”