When Congress refuses to perform its most basic constitutional duty …

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell

As of tomorrow, our Republican-led Congress will have one week left in which to carry out its most basic constitutional function, which is to fund the federal government before the new fiscal year expires at midnight on Sept. 30.

And yes, failure does appear to be an option. Among a number of Republicans, it is not merely an option, it is an outcome to be fervently demanded and pursued. Failure would be success, so to speak. And while Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claim to have a plan that will avoid a shutdown, nobody seems to know what that plan might be and there’s considerable doubt that Boehner in particular has the votes needed to carry such a plan. Even his survival as speaker would seem to be in considerable peril.

This time, the issue at stake in the threatened shutdown is funding for Planned Parenthood. If Democrats and President Obama don’t agree to bar the women’s health organization from receiving Medicaid funding for providing standard health-care services such as breast-cancer screening, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and prescription contraceptives, conservatives threaten to shut off the money supply for much of government.

It’s become a familiar drill. In the past such shutdowns have been demanded as a means to defund the EPA and Planned Parenthood (April 2011), force approval of the Keystone pipeline (December 2011), bar budget earmarks (December 2010) and defund ObamaCare (September 2013). In fact, conservatives have pushed the system to and over the brink so many times over the past few years, over a number of different issues, that you begin to realize that the issues themselves don’t really matter. What matters to them is the emotional catharsis, the jolt of righteous excitement at having done something dramatic to advance their crusade.

It’s also striking how little support they have for their cause outside the conservative echo chamber, which for many of them is all that matters. According to the most recent CNN poll, Americans believe it is more important to keep the government open than to defund Planned Parenthood by a more than 3-1 ratio. Even a plurality of self-described Republicans — 48 percent — believe that keeping the government open is more important, compared to 44 percent of Republicans who say that defunding Planned Parenthood ought to be the priority.

I know I know: Advocates of a shutdown, enthralled as they are with their own sense of righteousness, claim not to care about such worldly concerns as they carry out God’s work. Those who do admit caring will claim that the Republican Party actually benefits from such shutdowns because they demonstrate to voters that they are serious about implementing the changes that they claim to champion.

The evidence strongly suggests that they know better. Look again at the list of shutdowns and near-shutdowns in the past five years. It’s not an accident that none has come anywhere near a federal election. In the leadup to the 2012 and 2014 elections, for example, even the most rambunctious Republicans quietly allowed the government to be funded without much controversy. It is only in the off years, or in the wake of elections, that they turn into Samsons willing to bring the whole temple down around their ears to get their way.

2015 is such an off year. Next year is most certainly not. But with a major schism already developing within the party over its presidential nominee, and with Boehner’s gavel perhaps slipping from his grasp, I wonder whether the GOP has once again excited passions that it lacks the gravity to contain.

Reader Comments 0

1017 comments
notagain
notagain

prescribed contraceptives=less abortions.

BeeJay
BeeJay

Congress (or as mr bookman would have it, Republicans in Congress) is not refusing to fund the government, but it is so like mr bookman to try to convince his followers of that. It always helps a cause to omit important facts or nuances. Many followers these days, thankfully not all, don't bother looking into facts, the details, or the implications for themselves. Too much work I guess.  So they are left to cluelessly and shamefully believe everything someone who wants to influence their thinking says. mr. bookman is good at that.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@BeeJay 

 Congress (or as mr bookman would have it, Republicans in Congress) is not refusing to fund the government

Not intended to be a factual statement.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Republicans have short memories, they have forgotten about the Nunns against Romney, which made  conservative Christians on the right look like greedy pigs, so now they want to take on their boss who will literally wipe the floor with their greedy butts and does not care how they feel about him afterwards.  A greedy pig always gets slaughtered first.  

Brosephus
Brosephus

http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/

Abortion

Abortion Surveillance System FAQ's

Abortion Surveillance 2011

In 2011, 730,322 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate was 13.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and the abortion ratio was 219 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Compared with 2010, the total number and rate of reported abortions for 2011 decreased 5%, and the abortion ratio decreased 4%. Additionally, from 2002 to 2011 the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 13%, 14%, and 12%, respectively. The large decreases in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions from 2010 to 2011, in combination with decreases that occurred during 2008–2010, resulted in historic lows for all three measures of abortion.

Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions in 2011 and throughout the period of analysis. The majority of abortions in 2011 took place early in gestation. In 2011, most abortions (91.4%) were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.3%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.4%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 19.1% of all abortions were medical abortions. Source: MMWR 2014;63(11).

Kamchak
Kamchak

CONFEDERATED SONS OF VETERANS !

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

  last year it killed 333,000 babies.

Not intended to be a factual statement.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

My answer to Randroid:   

There are many ways

1. PP promotes unsafe behavior, including sex without contraceptives, morning after pills and abortions themselves, which could result in more pregnancies and will result in more cases of STDs, including AIDS of course.

2. PP is selling aborted fetus parts. That has been proven beyond doubt.

3. Planned Parenthood is the major contraceptive provider to poor American women. You might consider the effectiveness of their contraceptives when you consider that poor black women, though less than 10% of the population account for more than double their proportion of abortions. Where do they go? Planned Parenthood clinics, of course, to receive a publicly assisted abortion.

4. Planned parenthood says that of its services 3% is abortion. OK then, PP's budget is about $1 billion dollars, and last year it killed 333,000 babies. Take 3% of a billion and divide that by 333,000.

You get $90 per procedure, if PP spent no money on anything else for that procedure. Is that what "quality" healthcare costs to have a doctor, an operating room, proper drugs and facilities? Not in this or any other non-third world country.

honested
honested

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

1-No they don't.

2-No they don't

3-You contradict the fallacy of your point #! (I guess you just oppose all contraception and are too much of a coward to say so).

4-Last year, Planned Parenthood didn't kill any babies.

Can you speak in a factual manner, t-square?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@honested 

I reckon this is one of those emotion based arguments that conservatives never use.

honested
honested

The Pope calls out the folly of attempting to identify and stratify 'good and evil' and focus one's life on such a folly.


OOOOPS there goes the entire operating policy of the modern republiklan!

honested
honested

@ByteMe @honested 

Which 'party' bases their concept of foreign policy on overcoming what they call 'evil'?

Which party bases their concept of Criminal Justice on overcoming 'evil'?

Which party admonishes those who disagree with misunderstanding 'evil'?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@fiftythreepercenter 

Yes, the old 3% BS.

So?

Abortion is a legal procedure and the government should treat it as it does every other legal procedure.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak And as always, that's what it comes back to.  some people feel abortion should not be legal under any circumstances, so they attack the doctors, attack the women.... compassion or understanding or empathy is totally lost on real people in their quest to protect a fetus they'll never meet.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@ByteMe @Kamchak

so they attack the doctors, attack the women...

anything to avoid the public policy issue, which is a total loser for them.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Pope is going to ruffle some feathers 

No pun intended with the American Indian hatred of ol' Serra?

honested
honested

@Cupofjoe 

Native Americans have an entirely justified reason to have no love for 'ol Serra'.

Spreading 'the word' to enrich Spain did nothing to help the people who were here since before the goat herders invented their god.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

Pope is going to ruffle some feathers when he canonizes this Serra person.
After all Serra only has one miracle to his name, where two is the usual number of miracles required to be a Saint (I suppose one miracle could be a fluke.)

ByteMe
ByteMe

@_GodlessHeathen_ I really thought at first you were going to say "after all Serra is a <<insert political party here>>"

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"It's 3% of "what they [PP] do" but government funding ACCOUNTS FOR about HALF ITS BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET. "


Yes, the old 3% BS.  A woman walks into the clinic, they weigh her (service 1), ask her if she has been raped (service 2), ask her if she has been abused (service 3), take her temperature (service 4), take her blood pressure (service 5), check her heart rate (service 6), check her blood ox level (service 7), ask if she's on birth control (service 8), prescribe her birth control pills (service 9), explain how to use them, (service 10), ask her if she's pregnant (service 11), and so on.  By the time they schedule an appt for the abortion, she comes back and repeats that entire list of "services", it might actually be only 3% of what they do, but the number is a big fat lie. You know that, I know that, and continuing the lie ain't helping your case one bit.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@ByteMe @fiftythreepercenter The person went to the clinic for and abortion, DA.  The rest of those "services" only serve to make you lemmings happy while they slaughter children.  Why you still trot that BS out as if it's fooling anybody is beyond me.  

ByteMe
ByteMe

@fiftythreepercenter Why don't you just stop the subterfuge.  This is ALWAYS about abortion, not about PP at all.  Just stay focused on stopping abortion, at least you'll look less heartless than trying to prevent poor women from using a healthcare provider.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@fiftythreepercenter And how is that different from any other OB/GYN?  Or does your irrational hatred of PP extend to all OB/GYNs who perform the services a woman wants?

KUTGF
KUTGF

Jindal cut off $730,000 in Medicaid reimbursements to his state’s two Planned Parenthood clinics, even though neither offers abortion services. They do, however, provide thousands of women with health care, including screening for sexually transmitted infections — a terrible problem in some parts of the state.

No big deal. When the issue went to court, Jindal’s administration provided a list of more than 2,000 other places where Planned Parenthood’s patients could get care.

“It strikes me as extremely odd that you have a dermatologist, an audiologist, a dentist who are billing for family planning services,” responded the judge.

Whoops. It appeared that the list-makers had overestimated a tad, and the number of alternate providers was actually more like 29. None of which had the capacity to take on a flood of additional patients. 

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2015/09/24/1-there-is-no-replacement-for-planned-parenthood.html

ByteMe
ByteMe

@KUTGF I'm sure YJC would be fine having his lady parts scoped out by a dentist.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@KUTGF 

 “It strikes me as extremely odd that you have a dermatologist, an audiologist, a dentist who are billing for family planning services,” 

If somebody needs a dermatologist, an audiologist and a dentist to plan a family, then somebody is doing it wrong.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@KUTGF 

Well, when some Republicans consider a Neuro-Surgeon to be an expert in OB/GYN issues, that should tell you why that list was so long.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@KUTGF All of these sideline Family Planning experts on the right have no clue about how Title X services and billing actually works. I have actually worked with Title X so I can tell you that if you are not a Family Planning provider, providing Family Planning services, then you can not get Title X funding nor will any insurance company reimburse you for Family Planning services. It does not work that way.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Cupofjoe The economy is better than the media makes it out to be.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Look at the Washington Post obscuring the truth - as usual.  Francis delivers historic address to a divided Congress

Francis's words formally launched an event that would have been politically impossible through much of American history because Catholics have suffered widespread discrimination.

No, it wouldn't have happened in the past in US history because of its blatant violation of the principle of the separation of church and state, a principle that previous US leaders once actually respected, much in contrast to today when leaders fall all over themselves to embrace religious leaders.

For well over a century (until under Ronald Reagan) the US had no diplomatic relations with the Holy See. And if you read the statements about religious leaders made by founders like Thomas Jefferson, it's easy to understand why. This was a republic that was founded by people who weren't particularly enamored of the priest or religious leader generally.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

@LeninTime 

whole thing is simply awkward-  query why not the top 10 or so religious leaders all come to the HIll-

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Pope Rejects Lunch with Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, Reid: He will be Dining with the Homeless

— September 23, 2015 

Unlike some of his predecessors, Francis has reminded journalists and world leaders time and time again that the church is for the poor, blasted the global financial system which causes so much poverty in the first place, and called on Catholics across the globe to take action and start lifting up the most vulnerable among them.

He’s also spoken out forcefully against economic inequality.

Including some of the worst, most exploitative labor practices in the world, which create conditions that allow hardship and desperation to thrive.

Blowing off John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi to serve the homeless is pretty much the kind of badassery we’ve come to expect from this pope when it comes to speaking up for the world’s most hard-up.

honested
honested

@StraightNoChaser 

I guess he pays attention to that book more than the dollars that have created the abomination.....

A welcome change.