When I got up this morning, I found in my inbox the following email (reprinted in its entirety, including the link he provided for his short floor speech) from Senator Mike Lee (R, UT). He makes some valid points; please read his email carefully. After that, I have a couple of minor points.
We shouldn’t have to fund everything in order to fund anything
Why won’t Democrats take “yes” for an answer on Vet funding
Today, in an effort to move forward and end the government shutdown, I asked for the Senate to pass a bill that had already been passed by the House to fund veterans’ benefits. The motion was quickly shot down by Democrats who provided little explanation for their opposition to funding veterans’ benefits.
Following proper regular order, Congress would vote on and ultimately approve a dozen or so separate, segmented appropriations measures to fund each area within the federal government. Each program or function area would have to stand on its own merits in order to get funded. In a big government that spends between $3.5 and $4 trillion a year, and it’s important that we break spending decisions into pieces. Unfortunately, over the last 4 1/2 years, we’ve been funding government on the basis of back-to-back continuing resolutions. The problem with these measures is that they basically require us to fund everything or fund nothing at all.
The Republicans in the House of Representatives are quite wisely saying that we should start funding bills within those areas where there is broad-based bipartisan consensus. I agree that we should immediately start funding the government in those areas where there is obvious and overwhelming support including programs like veterans’ services, national parks, cancer research, and the National Guard and Reserves.
Republicans and Democrats came together in the House and approved bills overwhelmingly. I think we owe it to the country to show that we can do the same thing in the Senate. In a matter of hours the vast majority of the government could be funded. It was the president himself who asked Congress to fund a list of priorities in a speech to the nation a few days ago.The House of Representatives has courageously delivered a series of bills that will do exactly what the president asked. Now President Obama and Democrats in the Senate are having a hard time taking “yes” for an answer.
I continue to work around the clock with my staff and my colleagues in both houses of Congress to fund the government and protect the people from the harmful effects of Obamacare. I am confident we can do what is best for Utahns and for the future of our country.
Now, my lesser points. First, finally, Republicans are talking to us directly. This is good. Second, look at the tone of his email, and compare it with the tone of the emails many of you may have gotten from Democrats—usually fund-raisers (none of that in Lee’s email). If not, the folks at Power Line get missives from Democrats and reprint them. Which party actually is making an argument for their case, and which cannot and so is limited simply to attacking the other party?