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Unprecedented blackmail

10/8/2013

Unprecedented blackmail

As the Republicans and the Democrats blame each other as to who is responsible for the shutting down of the federal government, there are some interesting facts that can further elucidate the quagmire we are in. According to the Congressional Record, it is a fact that the House of Representatives, in which the Republicans are the majority, has already appropriated all the funds needed to allow all government functions to normally operate, except for Obamacare.

According to the Constitution, another fact is the House has indeed the right to appropriate or withhold funds. The argument that Obamacare is the law of the land does not take into account another fact, that the U.S. government allows for a power "sharing" among the branches, with each branch acting according to the powers granted to it.

Therefore, the plethora of idle government workers are not in that predicament because the House did not approve funding for their salaries. The House did approve everything, except Obamacare. It is a matter of fact that the Senate could have chosen to keep the government open. However, since the money to be approved did not include Obamacare, the Senate applied the all-or-none law. They asked the House to either vote for all the funds, including Obamacare, or the government would shut down. It should be considered an outright sham that the Senate, in an attempt to blackmail the opposition, refused the money that was authorized for normal government operation.

The House did not approve funding of Obamacare, as they had the right to do, and they will bear whatever responsibility. On the other hand, the responsibility for the government shutdown itself lies exclusively with the Senate. The "clean" bill that the Senate is asking from the House is still "clean," even without Obamacare. Although the Senate might not get everything it wants, this is not something unprecedented in the annals of legislating by appropriation.

Andreas Maheras

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