So good news, Congress averted a government shutdown. The bad news, we’ll be having this same fight in about two months’ time…
While you were livin’ the high-life and making plans, something continued to move around you. What, life? No, American politics! This is ‘The Rundown.’ What is ‘The Rundown’ you ask? Other than a terrific action-comedy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Stifler from ‘American Pie’, it’s our unique breakdown of major news stories that are currently hitting the political scene. In this edition we talk about how Congress avoided a government shutdown.
Kicking a Can Down the Road
Sometimes Congress solves legitimate problems in a timely manner. Other times, they do what they did last night.
On the eve of a government shutdown Congress essentially “punted” on the issue of a government funding by passing a stop-gap bill that funded discretionary funding through early December. As the bill passed first in the Senate (78-20) and then the House (277-151), the atmosphere was less of relief and more of dread. Everyone in that chamber knew that Republican demands of ending Planned Parenthood’s access to Medicaid reimbursements and Democrats requests for higher levels in discretionary spending (that doesn’t involve the military) were still far from settled.
Also the guy who used act as the middle-man (and more importantly an effective scapegoat) just left the party early.
Basically all of this feels less like “dodging a bullet” and more like a stay in execution.
See you guys again in December!
Let Rep. Tom Cole Explain The Why Last Month Debating on Defunding Planned Parenthood Was a Colossal Waste of Everyone’s Time
Ok So Here’s How Planned Parenthood is Actually Funded by the Federal Government
It’s important to understand two very crucial aspects of the federal government’s funding of Planned Parenthood:
1) None – meaning ZERO – of the money given to Planned Parenthood is used for abortion procedures.
While many conservatives balk at this fact by saying consultations in which an abortion could be presented as an option to someone could be used with federal money yada, yada, yada…
At that point we’re talking in hypotheticals, which we won’t get into here. In just pure and simple terms, the procedures themselves – unless Planned Parenthood is out right lying about it – are not federally funded.
Now with that out of the way, we get to our second point.
2) All Planned Parenthood money is under mandatory spending, not discretional spending.
And this is where we get to the meat of the insanity.
In the federal budget there are two types of agendas that need to be met.
One is mandatory spending. These tend to be entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, ect). Usually these programs aren’t up for debate when it comes to talking about the budget and various aspects of their spending have to be dealt with in specific congressional committees. That’s the point Rep. Cole was talking about in the video above.
Then there is discretional spending. Discretional spending is federal money that is debated by both the House and Senate over what gets funded and by how much. For the past month, Congress was having a discussion about discretional spending, not mandatory spending.
The thing is…
Federal funding for Planned Parenthood falls under Medicaid, which is under mandatory spending. For the last month Congress was debating over elements in the federal budget that had to deal with discretional spending. So having discussions over defunding Planned Parenthood when it comes to discretional spending was useless, since it falls under mandatory spending, a completely different category.
Essentially all the drama and the playing with people’s livelihoods of a government shutdown was a DC dog and pony show. In all actuality, they couldn’t defund Planned Parenthood in the way they wanted to. In other words, THE DEBATES THIS PAST MONTH WERE A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!!
This is why we can’t have nice things.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)