This morning, Mike Mulvaney, the Trump administration’s budget director and a former member of the House of Representatives, explained why it was OK for Republicans to vote against the 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) while Democrats are now obstructionist to cast a similar vote. The distinction, he claimed, is that he and other conservative Republicans voted against the CR because it contained funding for the ACA, an act which they vehemently opposed. Today, all but five Democrats voted against the CR even though they support everything in the bill: continuing government funding, renewal of the CHIP program, and a delay in some specific government funding.
Mulvaney is a very articulate, impressive debater and must be very convincing to many, many people. The trouble with his argument, however, is that it’s a crock. Here, Wikepedia explains how the the issue of the ACA was part of the 2013 CR only because Republicans insisted upon it.
“A ‘funding-gap’ was created when the two chambers of Congress failed to agree to an appropriations continuing resolution. The Republican-led House of Representatives, in part encouraged by conservative senators such as Ted Cruz and conservative groups such as Heritage Action, offered several continuing resolutions with language delaying or defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as ‘Obamacare’). The Democratic-led Senate passed several amended continuing resolutions for maintaining funding at then-current sequestration levels with no additional conditions. Political fights over this and other issues between the House on one side and President Barack Obama and the Senate on the other led to a budget impasse which threatened massive disruption.
“The deadlock centered on the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, which was passed by the House of Representatives on September 20, 2013. The Senate stripped the bill of the measures related to the Affordable Care Act, and passed it in revised form on September 27, 2013. The [GOP controlled] House reinstated the Senate-removed measures, and passed it again in the early morning hours on September 29. The Senate declined to pass the bill with measures to delay the Affordable Care Act, and the two legislative houses did not develop a compromise bill by the end of September 30, 2013, causing the federal government to shut down due to a lack of appropriated funds at the start of the new 2014 federal fiscal year.”
It was conservative Republicans like Mike Mulvaney, a Tea Party firebrand, that inserted the anti-ACA language in an attempt to cripple Obamacare, which had already been law for over three years. Today, Mulvaney joins the chorus that claims only the Democrats have ever held up a Continuing Resolution for reasons “unrelated” to the immediate budgetary issues.
None of this means that I’m convinced the Democrats are politically astute to be blocking the present CR. It does mean, though, that I remain sickened by the White House’s ongoing pattern of lying about and demonizing their opposition. Nor do I forgive Trump for failing to negotiate in good faith to assure the Dreamers a secure place here in the United States, the only country they have ever really known.