It’s finally happened: Someone has started a running list of all the unnecessary closures, barricades and service suspensions the Obama White House is perpetrating as part of the President’s deceitful, backwards campaign to convince America that the House of Representatives is holding hostage the political process – and 300 million citizens with it.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Breitbart had tallied 41 instances of the Administration’s punitive tactics since the Oct. 1 government “shutdown” kicked in. Some are more egregious, in their effects, than others – but all betray a commitment to waste more resources punishing people than would be required to simply let them be.
From Breitbart, here are a few lowlights:
… 3. Furloughed Military Chaplains Not Allowed to Work for Free – Furloughed military chaplains willing to celebrate Mass and baptisms for free have been told they will be punished for doing so.
… 10. Obama Tries to Close State-Run Parks in Wisconsin – “The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.”
… 5. Arizona Offers to Fund Grand Canyon, Obama Says ‘Drop Dead’ – “Obama has ordered the Grand Canyon to stay closed, even after the state of Arizona and local businesses have offered to cover the costs necessary to keep it open. In other words, the shutdown isn’t about the money — it’s about hurting the American people just because he can.”
… 31. Although Privately Funded, Historic Ford’s Theater Closed – “Ford’s Theatre, which is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, does not use any federal funding or federal employees for its performances. During previous government shutdowns, the theatre has continued performances.”
… 39. Iwo Jima Memorial Closed, Barricades Erected – “Another open-air memorial in the Washington area is closed and barricaded off: the Iwo Jima Memorial, just across the bridge from D.C. in Rosslyn, Virginia. A source sends along this picture of the barricade set-up at the memorial, which is also called the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.”
… 41. Shutdown Denies Death Benefits to Families of Fallen Soldiers – “The families of five U.S. service members who were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that they won’t be receiving the $100,000 benefit normally wired to relatives within 36 hours of the death. The ‘death gratuity’ is intended to help cover funeral costs and help with immediate living expenses until survivor benefits typically begin.”
It cannot be overstated that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are relying on Americans’ ignorance about the legislative process to lie about who’s responsible for the government shutdown, as well as the threat of defaulting on our debts if the House doesn’t agree to raise the debt limit.
That’s because the House, which reserves the exclusive Constitutional authority to initiate spending legislation, has repeatedly agreed to temporarily fund the government and raise the Federal debt limit, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act. It is the sole prerogative of the U.S. House of representatives to do that, and the President’s only recourse is to urge the Senate Democrat majority to reject that plan and vilify the House for holding government hostage.
It’s unlikely that anyone has expressed this more clearly than Thomas Sowell. In a column last week, Sowell wrote:
There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.
This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the congressional record.
As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that congressmen there have a right to decide whether they want to spend money on a particular government activity.
Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.
ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality.
But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.
…Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.
The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?
If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.
You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.
When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.
Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.
You can read the rest of that devastating piece over at Rare.
And the full Breitbart list of Obama closures can be found here.