“Well, I won’t back down. No, I won’t back down. You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.” – Tom Petty
“I have always figured that half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not always going to get everything you want.” – President Ronald Reagan, February 9, 1983.
Government Shutdown – Day 1: Back in March of 2010, I wrote a daily “Laptop Report” during the weeks leading up to the passage of ObamaCare through the House by the slimmest of margins. I recounted all of our attempts to convince enough Democrats of the folly of this miserable law. Not a single Republican voted for it and a number of Democrats opposed it – but, not enough.
Today, I will again begin a daily “Laptop Report” series for the length of this government shutdown. I have no idea how long this will last. No one does. But, I will give you a few of my thoughts and update you as this process moves along.
The two quotes at the top of the page may seem in conflict. But, they are not.
First of all, you should understand our position here. Nobody in the House wanted a government shutdown. The House has, over the past week, sent three different proposals to the Senate to fund the government at existing spending levels through December 15th. Each of these proposals involved some ObamaCare issue. Each successive proposal was a compromise from the previous one that the Senate had rejected. But, the president has said he will not negotiate with the duly elected majority in the House. Understand this: He will not negotiate, at all. Harry Reid is backing up the president and says he won’t negotiate either. The final House proposal, which passed at 1:00 AM this morning with the support of 9 Democrats, was to create a conference committee to work out the differences between the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed bill. This is standard legislative practice.
But, Harry Reid says no conference committee; no negotiations. The president says no compromise and no negotiations. Basically, the president is saying, “My way or the highway.” Republicans in the House want to negotiate and compromise.
Let’s see….so, who is being reasonable here and who is not?
We tried to send the Senate changes and reforms to elements of ObamaCare that are less controversial. For example, 79 Senators, including most of the Democrats, voted earlier this year to repeal the Medical Device Tax. But yesterday, all Democrats voted to keep it. It is indefensible that Members of Congress get an exemption from ObamaCare, but last night, all Democrats in the Senate and almost all in the House voted to keep that exemption for themselves. This summer, 22 Democrats in the House voted with all Republicans to delay ObamaCare’s individual mandate to match the delay that the president gave to large businesses. Twelve of those Democrats reversed their votes last night.
I remember that in the summer of 2010, Democrats in the House realized that ObamaCare was badly written and announced hearings to fix some things. Nancy Pelosi yanked them back and said that the position they must have was that the law was perfect and needed no changes. This doctrinaire defense of the indefensible is what is creating the problem here. It was a problem then and it is a problem now. Much of this law is not working. The president has given 1,231 waivers and exemptions out to unions, companies and campaign contributors. Every poll shows that a majority of the American people opposes the law, and that majority increases as more and more people see how it is negatively impacting the cost, quality and availability of their health care.
There have been 17 government shutdowns since 1976. So, this is not new. A bunch of them happened when Jimmy Carter was president and Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, as well. Here is a link to a Washington Post article detailing out each of those shutdowns. The republic survived those shutdowns and it will survive this one. ObamaCare is costing many more jobs, much more pain and much more economic growth than the shutdown will.
As I said, I don’t know how this will play out. All I can control at this point is my own actions and my own vote. I will tell you this: To get my vote to fund the government, the president and his allies will have to accept some compromise. That compromise will have to entail some repeal or replacement of some part of ObamaCare. There are many such repeals and replacements that Democrats outside of the White House have supported before. They should support them again. I will compromise. I have compromised. But, I won’t back down.