How the House Democrats Should Call the Republicans’ Bluff on the Shutdown

Matthew Yglesias makes a good point about budget negotiations–their intransigence on tax increases means that, at least in the House, the budget is entirely up to the Republicans:

Under these circumstances, there’s nothing to negotiate about and nothing presidential leadership can achieve. If Republican leaders don’t want to agree to any revenue increases, that’s their prerogative, but willingness to compromise on revenue is the sine qua non of a bipartisan deal. Absent that willingness, there neither can nor will be a bipartisan deal so there’s nothing for the president to say or do.
The real question then becomes: When will the Republicans produce a budget proposal? We’ve seen the White House proposal. Do Republicans have an alternative proposal that makes the deficit lower consistent with their position on taxes? If they do, I’d like to see them write it down on paper so we can talk about it.

I think the Democrats should force the issue.

In an attempt to get their way, House Republicans have threatened to shut down the government by not approving continuing resolutions to keep the government funded. But the Democrats need to make this clearer.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House leadership should announce that they are telling their members to abstain on any continuing resolutions. It’s up to the Republicans to make sure that the elderly get their Social Security checks. Give a very caustic speech stating that it’s time for the GOP to act like grownups and actually govern, not just make strong conservative statements and propaganda points and then expect the Democrats to pull their fat out of the fire. And this is baby steps: all they have to do is not shut the government down. It would be all on them. Let’s see if the Republicans could actually do this by themselves.
That means Republicans will have to present concrete proposals and make hard choices. If they decide to try to negotiate in good faith with Democrats and the White House, great. Then work with them.
But stop letting the Republicans have it both ways.

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3 Responses to How the House Democrats Should Call the Republicans’ Bluff on the Shutdown

  1. tiercelet says:

    Ahh, yes, but that would require two qualities notably lacking in the Democratic leadership: brains and balls. They refuse to call a bluff, because they think the American people are too politically illiterate to understand why it isn’t their fault.
    It’s like the Dems are engaged in a steady, multi-decade project to prove that yes, Virginia, you *can* go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  2. Ketil Tveiten says:

    Dear Mike the Mad: Re. Anything Sensible, Why Do You Think Congress Democrats Will Do What You Want Done?

  3. Quinne says:

    I, too, wish Dems would call the Rethuglicans’ bluff. I hope that if a shutdown were to happen, it would have the effect of teaching people exactly what we DO pay taxes for and that all taxes aren’t bad.
    But I don’t have much hope.

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