On Thursday, as congress was passing a stop-gap budget bill that would keep the government funded for four more days, a House Appropriations subcommittee quietly released a bill which finances the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human services.
The bill contains dozens of controversial policy and spending provisions that are almost guaranteed to give liberal members of congress palpitations. Among them are plans to stop President Obama’s healthcare reform plan from taking effect until the Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality and rescinding funding for Planned Parenthood unless they certify that they’ll no longer perform abortions. But it doesn’t end there. The bill also defunds the President’s “Race to the Top” program for public schools, cuts off money to National Public Radio and eliminates Americorp, the domestic Peace Corps program started under Bill Clinton.
Democrats insist the bill will go nowhere, and not having enough votes in either the House or the Senate – the spending bill hits all the right notes for many conservative members of congress, but others say it doesn’t go far enough – they’re probably right. This means the provisions in the bill will be folded into an omnibus spending bill down the road.
But whether or not the bill passes is beside the point, according to some analysts. They’re saying this bill essentially lays the groundwork for yet another contentious budget battle. Republicans have staked out their position, an untenable one for most Democrats, so three major governmental departments may grind to a halt while the two sides hash it out.
How will this shake out? Who will be blamed for yet another round of political theater? And will any of these defunding measures actually become law?
George Zornick, Washington DC Reporter, The Nation Magazine
Matthew Vadum, Senior Editor, The Capitol Research Center; Author of Subversion, Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books)