Why did the government shut down this week?
Is it because politicians in both parties refused to compromise? Or was it caused by one side rooting for our government to fail?
We need to get the answer right if we want Washington to work better.
The record shows that this shutdown is an avoidable crisis caused solely by House Republicans – here are three reasons why:
First, if you remember one thing about the shutdown, it's this : A majority of Congress already opposes it.
The Senate voted to avoid it -- and a majority of the House would vote the same way – but Speaker John Boehner never allowed that vote.
Some 200 plus members in both parties wanted it and House experts from our own NBC News reporters to the conservative National Review also count up a majority. By standing in the way of majority rule, Boehner took an avoidable shutdown and made it inevitable.
Second, this is the first shutdown in history where there is no dispute about the budget!
That's because the funding bill the Senate agreed to was not the president's budget numbers. It was about $70 billion short of the Democratic request that's because the Democrats accepted the sequester level funding cuts demanded by the Tea Party! Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer made that clear, "what compromise are we talking about? We're taking your number, your number! And you will not take yes for an answer. How sad. What a shameful day this is in the history of the house of representatives."
So if you hear anyone say both sides should just "get in a room and compromise"… you can say they already did that – when Obama accepted conservative cuts.
Finally, there is ObamaCare. You might be tired of hearing about it – I get that, I cover politics. But after getting the budget numbers they demanded, Republicans turned to blackmailing the president over ObamaCare.
I think that was a stupid, irresponsible and futile plan. So do a lot of independent experts who follow Congress.
And if you want to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt, here's what they said this year about this idea: “I believe that trying to put ‘Obamacare’ on this vehicle risks shutting down the government," Speaker John Boehner said. “that’s not what our goal is.”
Boehner said that because he thought there was no chance he'd adopt a plan that was so stupid, irresponsible and futile. And then he capitulated. He was against it before he was for it.
That's why we're in this jam – a costly shutdown opposed by most of the public, most of Congress and even by the very Republican who engineered it.
This is so strange, you might not believe it if you didn't see it yourself. Maybe that's why some people are in denial and blame it on Washington being broken. It's true that the House is broken as an instrument of democracy. But if you come home to a crime scene, you don't just observe a crime happened. If you find something *you care about* was broken, you don't just observe that "it's broken." You figure out *who* did it.
If Washington is broken, it's because John Boehner and the Tea Party broke it.