GOP at fault for the shutdown of government

Last week, I wrote that the Republican Party’s antics on the debt ceiling debate were a    serious threat to the party’s image. After a 21-hour speech by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in an attempt to block a Senate vote on a “clean” funding bill, it was clear that the GOP intended to hold the government hostage to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Despite how many times Senator Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham to an empty Senate, I wrote that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) would never in his wildest dreams double down on a shutdown when the Senate inevitably sent back a funding bill that stripped the ACA-defunding provisions.

Wendy Fu | Daily Trojan

Wendy Fu | Daily Trojan


I was dead wrong. Like Lane Kiffin’s addiction to the screen pass on third-and-long, the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the 43rd, 44th and 45th time to defund Obamacare, and a government shutdown was the inevitable result.

There is a lot to be said about the shutdown of nonessential services that began at midnight Tuesday. The non-confrontational types who refuse to point fingers because they fear, ironically, that they are playing into the partisan politics that have plagued us for years, will wonder why we can’t all get along. I should know — until two nights ago, I was one of them.

I wrote in my inaugural column nearly two months ago that disagreement should be productive. In other words, parties retreating to corners and not coming to the negotiating table is the ultimate failure of politics. I wish I could say the same now — that the solution to the government shutdown is to come to the negotiating table and hammer out our differences — but I can’t.

It defies common sense to say that we should “negotiate” over A) funding the government, and B) implementing a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the president, declared constitutional by the Supreme Court and then verified in a national presidential election that was in many ways a referendum on the law itself (spoiler alert — the GOP lost by five million votes).

On this issue, there can be no negotiation. House Republicans have grossly abused their constitutional power to originate funding bills, and made a steaming mess of an already broken system.

There are millions without work in the United States. Student loans are crushing college students under piles of debt. Folks on food stamps and children in Early Head Start, a child development program, face deep cuts to that facilities they need so much. In the midst of it all, Republicans have decided the most important issue (besides “voter fraud,” of course) is a woman’s access to birth control and protecting insurance companies from children with pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, they’re willing to shut down the government for it.

Most ironic of all is that despite the closing of the Smithsonian, the furloughing of thousands of government employees and the turning off of the Panda Cam at the National Zoo, the ACA is still being implemented. The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the government websites where consumers can now purchase insurance opened without any impact at all from the government shutdown.

Let the facts speak for themselves: A Quinnipiac national poll released Tuesday shows 72 percent of American voters oppose Congress shutting down the government in their effort to block implementation of the law. According to the poll, voters also chose a Democratic candidate over a Republican candidate 43 percent to 34 percent in a generic ballot, the widest Democratic margin measured so far for the 2014 elections.

This is only round one. Remember that thing called the debt ceiling? That’s the limit on federal borrowing that must be raised by Oct. 17, when the federal government will literally run out of money to pay its bills and default on every payment from bonds to social security. Unlike the government shutdown, which has happened before (most recently in 1995), this could be a collapse of apocalyptic proportions, and the Republicans in the House have a list of demands waiting to hold that negotiation hostage, too.

It’s slash and burn guerilla tactics at its finest. According to Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, “Once [Obama] starts making concessions to people who threaten to blow up the world economy unless they get what they want, he might as well tear up the Constitution.”

The backward-looking ideologues who make up today’s Republican Party might do both. Our house is divided when it lets disagreement impede policy progress. Today, our house is divided because it has stopped caring about the people who elected it. Like Lane Kiffin, House Republicans might be looking for a new job next season.


Nathaniel Haas is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science.  His column “A House Divided” runs Thursdays. 

Follow Nathaniel on Twitter @Haas4Prez2036

7 replies
  1. jax4usc
    jax4usc says:

    I’m constantly amazed that the higher USC raises its tuition, the fewer economic conservatives it attracts. I’m a J’School graduate (’58). When we were laying out the DT, across Jefferson Blvd. from the Shrine Auditorium, we had a terrible time finding leftists to argue with most of our editorials. Tuition was $12 a unit when I started in 1951. I took off two years in 1953 to attend the Korean and Cold Wars. When I returned in 1956, tuition had soared to $28 a unit. Still, I was able to make ends meet with a $1000-a-year annuity and the Korean GI Bill. We still had trouble finding leftists with whom to argue on the USC campus.

    Now that tuition has risen to well above what a sensible person would possibly spend on an 18-year-old, it’s almost impossible to find a conservative argument among the balkanized Trojans. In 1958 we were Trojans. Now we are Afro-American Trojans, Latino Trojans, Pacific Rim Trojans, LGBT-whatever-is-new Trojans–You-Name-It Trojans, whatever Trojans–with a highly paid administrative position to govern and pontificate about each.

    Stop it! Damn it! We’re Trojans, or, at least, used to be. Left-wing editorialists, professors, and administrations have made USC no more than another state-run school. My dad was a Trojan, my mom was a Trojan, I was a Trojan; my daughter went to Cal because we could still afford it. Today, she’s still a Trojan fan, and so are my twin granddaughters. The notion of impoverishing the family to send them to USC to become Marxists at a gazillion dollars a unit is insanity, at best.

    Fight On!


  2. Emanuel
    Emanuel says:

    This is not a republican V. democrats issue. Every other government shutdown was related to budget deficits. I am sick and tired of hearing people blame “Tea Party Extremists” when the real gluten for punishment is the budget. There has to be funding.

  3. progreSCive
    progreSCive says:

    Liberty Minded, you can’t be serious. The compromise by the “D” party is already in the Continuing Resolution that the “R” party won’t even take up for a vote in the House – it’s the sequester budget. The “R” party has a win staring it in the face but is so hellbent on defunding the (legally passed and Supreme Court-vetted) Affordable Care Act, it can’t see straight.

    Keep up, will you?

  4. Liberty Minded
    Liberty Minded says:

    If I understand correctly, elections have consequences. We do not have single party rule anymore. It is the “D” party that refused to compromise or even engage in a discussion on how to appease the new “R” party majority in the people’s House.

    Ironically, a government shutdown is exactly what the “D” party desired – and the “R” party as well! The “D” party has a chance to rally its flagging base and now has 800,000 people to march on Washington without losing their jobs. The “R” party gets a rare “cut” in the federal budget.

    Now if only the “shutdown” can only last till 2014 we can make some real headway on the trillion dollar annual deficits.

  5. Chas Holman
    Chas Holman says:

    I’m no Democrat, but one doesn’t need to be a Democrat to hate with every fiber of ones being, the GOP and the monster they have become.

    I’d like to dedicate this quote to those hopelessly lost souls in the GOTea over in Congress..

    “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

    ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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