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Budget, and shutdown, in Democrats' hands


Date published: 6/18/2014

Budget, and shutdown, in Democrats' hands

It seems that whenever there is talk of a government shutdown, the first casualty is intellectual honesty.

Unlike a number of things politicians do, shutting down the government is an actual process. Different branches of government have different roles to play, and when one or more of them refuse to play that role, it can result in a government shutdown.

The method for determining who is responsible goes like this:

The House is responsible for passing a budget. A budget that's passed means the House is not responsible for a shutdown. A budget that's not passed means the House is responsible for a shutdown.

The Senate is responsible for approving a budget before it goes to the executive. A budget that's passed means the Senate is not responsible for a shutdown. A budget that's not passed means the Senate is responsible for a shutdown.

The governor then needs to sign the budget. If the budget is signed, there's no government shutdown. If the budget is not signed, there's a government shutdown.

Determining who is responsible for a government shutdown should not be a game of partisan sophistry. It is quite simply based on a rudimentary understanding of how our government and separation of powers works.

If one house of the legislature or the executive branch has decided for whatever reason to not pass a budget, then they have determined that a government shutdown is a worthwhile price to pay. That in and of itself might not be a bad thing, but if they have determined that is their stance, then own it and make your argument.

The Democrats now have control of the governor's mansion, so they have the ability to shut down the government if Terry McAuliffe doesn't sign the budget; but they do not have the authority to bend reality and arbitrarily blame the Republicans because they find it politically convenient.

Nicholas Freitas

Culpeper