Skip to main content

“The budget is up to the President and he didn’t do one,” is the answer I got on Friday when I called my House representative’s office to ask why the government was shut down.

Now I don’t expect much from this House member who certainly doesn’t represent me and I can’t say for sure what substance he has inside his head where his brain is supposed to be.  He won the election last November with 67% of the vote consistent with prior elections.  I call his office because I’ll have no one to blame but myself if my voice isn’t heard.  

I wanted to know how the US ended up in its present predicament without a budget or even a penny appropriated for spending so that the government had to shut down, all because our representatives in Congress didn’t do their J.O.B. even though they had all year to do it.

And the glib, self-satisfied, snotty Luke Russert sound-alike on the phone didn’t hesitate for a nanosecond after my question.  “The budget is up to the President and he didn’t do one.”  

I didn’t hesitate either and I politely offered him a civics lesson. “Do you have a copy of the Constitution there or a laptop in front of you?  The Constitution authorizes Congress, only, to appropriate money for spending.  Not the President.”

“Luke’s” juvenile mocking tone showed he wasn’t impressed. “Yeah, well, Congress gets the budget from the President and he never sent it this year.”  

I answered the only way I could.  “The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget was posted on the Congressional Budget Office website earlier this year and the CBO analyzed it and published its findings online. “

“Luke” tried to interrupt me but I wasn’t done speaking. “You know, this isn’t the first year ever for Congress to work on fiscal matters.  The budget process is outlined in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 with a calendar of deadlines to keep the process on track for completion before the fiscal new  year on October 1. You can find that on the Budget Committee page for the House and Senate.  The required deadlines were very important to the Republicans in January and they introduced the No Budget No Pay Act because they wanted strict adherence on the deadlines.  It was passed in the House and Senate and the President signed it.  The House and Senate passed their budgets  by the deadline and what happened after that?  Why weren’t the rest of the deadlines on the calendar completed?”

“Luke” didn’t sound so cocky anymore.  “But the President has to negotiate.”

I told him to look at the calendar of deadlines.  “The House and Senate have to go to conference to reconcile the differences between their two budget resolutions.  When Reid tried to get the process started in the Senate, the usual suspects from the GOP rose one by one with objections.  This was a charade that went on for weeks.  They made it clear that they wanted the Democrats consent agreement in advance on all of the elements in the Ryan budget passed by the House or there would be no conference.   They were the ones who didn’t want to negotiate.   Read the verbatim transcripts in the Congressional Record from April 24 to May 15.  The Republicans never even appointed conferees to the conference because they didn’t want to negotiate.  Instead they let the clock run out on the fiscal year knowing that they made no appropriations for the new fiscal year.  They didn’t even reauthorize 2013 spending to avoid disruptions on October 1.  They thought it would be easier to extract concessions from the Democrats once they were faced with the urgency of a government shutdown.   The President is wise not to negotiate with Republican extortionists. “

“Luke” had been quiet until he heard this last word which he didn’t like. “What!?  Extortionists!?  Explain that.”

I didn’t need his invitation.  But I wasn’t ever going to get anywhere with him either.   He never apologized for the little fibs he told and he didn’t argue or try to defend them.  He just substituted a different fib from what must be an endless supply each time the previous one was refuted.  We played cat and mouse like this for a while, especially on the debt ceiling.  This rep voted for appropriations that contributed to the debt a decade ago and he won’t take responsibility for it.  My rhetoric was getting overheated as I hinted about the illegality of approving the issuance and sale of Treasury bonds that were guaranteed against loss only to create the conditions now for those same bonds to default.  

Finally “Luke”  became exasperated and he blurted out, "So what do you want him [the rep] to do."

"Resign."  It was the only appropriate word.

He snapped back at me. "Well he's not going to do that."

To which I responded, "Yet. He's not going to do that, yet.  And if he waits long enough he may end up getting expelled."

Then there was silence. We were out of things to say so I said goodbye.

How much clearer could it be that the staff in this rep's office makes no effort to pretend that they're in DC to represent their constituents?  At one point I asked the staffer if he could explain how the shutdown or a debt default would benefit the large population of retired seniors in the district.  There was silence.  He couldn't come up with a single word.

4:45 PM PT: Somebody must have liked this.  Thank you.

So who is the numskull representative?  It could probably be any one of a number of House members.  This one's name is Matt Salmon.  

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Egg, Ottoe, Thumb, Alumbrados, paradox, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, JWC, buffalo soldier, Sylv, chuck utzman, Terri, RF, PrahaPartizan, fcvaguy, oofer, Phoenix Woman, Radiowalla, True North, Brainwrap, decisivemoment, murphy, ferg, grollen, godotnut, dalemac, teacherken, roonie, glitterscale, Liberal Thinking, Jeff Simpson, Geenius at Wrok, Gooserock, Rolfyboy6, Pandora, TrueBlueMajority, Powered Grace, saraswati, wytcld, Bob Love, greenbird, bosdcla14, Lahdee, Sprinkles, superfly, Emerson, Khun David, OtherDoug, wu ming, Heimyankel, Minnesota Deb, Sherri in TX, Pescadero Bill, m maddog, Wintermute, tacet, SanJoseLady, LuvSet, Jay C, brendan1963, ThatTallGuy, Midwest Meg, mslat27, akeitz, John Campanelli, celdd, eeff, rubyr, dsb, saluda, MakeChessNotWar, Pompatus, xynz, polecat, HootieMcBoob, figdish, Gary in NY, Bexley Lane, freelunch, blksista, dash888, sobermom, Bob Friend, Matilda, bethcf4p, Walt starr, Sandia Blanca, bumblebums, zeroooo, exNYinTX, jancw, Caneel, dweb8231, Heart of the Rockies, JLFinch, eyeswideopen, rasbobbo, agoldnyc, Gustogirl, busternjake, Great Cthulhu, concernedamerican, emmanuel, bronte17, JSCram3254, missLotus, 88kathy, susans, TracieLynn, afox, EricS, theRoaringGirl, indybend, litho, cyberKosFan, fugwb, parker parrot, BlackSheep1, kalihikane, Wee Mama, wonkydonkey, mbayrob, lippythelion69, nyceve, susakinovember, whenwego, jiffykeen, ask, highacidity, DaveP, KMc, ReneeNY, CalvinV, boadicea, AlyoshaKaramazov, otto, Katzy, farmerhunt, roses, khloemi, slouching, Suvro, pedrito, Dhavo, Ignacio Magaloni, MazeDancer, sngmama, jalbert, Cedwyn, Alna Dem, sidnora, SnyperKitty, malcolm, nio, revsue, Serendipity, Lilyvt, Texknight, asterlil, recontext, manneckdesign, RLF, ksuwildkat, kharma, athenap, psnyder, hangingchad, annan, emmasnacker, NYC Sophia, Farugia, Miss Jones, figbash, pat bunny, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, ranger995, leevank, MA Liberal, solliges, Noodles, laderrick, roseeriter, madame defarge, cosette, goobop, JimWilson, wdrath, NYFM, niteskolar, homo neurotic, DSC on the Plateau, chantedor, Steven Payne, hoof32, Sychotic1, papercut, samoashark, LucyTooners, bsegel, Timbuk3, riverlover, BlogDog, Sophie Amrain, blonde moment, Diana in NoVa, nswalls, JayBat, AllisonInSeattle, KateCrashes, peterj911, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, side pocket, randallt, WisVoter, Hillbilly Dem, Man Eegee, KayCeSF, tomjones, JayDean, ScienceMom, jcrit, BigDuck, valadon, rambler american, AaronBa, boran2, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, bibble, murrayewv, Armand451, KathyK, Limelite, J Orygun, BoogieMama, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, weelzup, davidkc, Dirk McQuigley, davidincleveland, humphrey, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, sandblaster, radarlady, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, Farlfoto, TexasTom, i love san fran, Ckntfld, ichibon, freakofsociety, caul, LarisaW, SherwoodB, newfie, Independent Musings, Chinton, Technowitch, Erik the Red, sc kitty, PsychoSavannah, JohnB47, one of 8, citizenx, basquebob, dewtx, ChemBob, juliesie, viral, Kdoug, stagemom, YucatanMan, teresab, Kevskos, reflectionsv37, fixxit, eru, scribe69, ocooper, bleeding blue, majcmb1, SaraBeth, Dr Squid, where4art, lcbo, aaraujo, Fury, Kayakbiker, lotlizard, peteri2, Little Lulu, most peculiar mama, CompaniaHill, BayAreaKen, blue jersey mom, markdd, sunbro, Sandino, Yamara, Tool, brentut5, Tunk, spunhard, Savvy813, Blu Gal in DE, sodalis, kerplunk, pdknz, manoffire, turdraker, quiet in NC, Rogneid, bookwoman, Lindy, jj24, peacestpete, murasaki, Box of Rain, noladq, kkjohnson, mightymouse, Land of Enchantment, RainyDay, fhcec, noweasels, xaxnar, lgmcp, forbodyandmind, alrdouglas, martini, kovie, Showman, Nance, BachFan, Orinoco, tommymet, golem, myboo, vigilant meerkat, DrSpalding, cybersaur, 417els, Clytemnestra, msirt, tobendaro, dharmafarmer, emeraldmaiden, Themistoclea, Ky DEM, profundo, bastrop, seefleur, Dvalkure, ruleoflaw, Catesby, Naniboujou, arlene, kto9, blueoasis, Alexandra Lynch, AnnCetera, zenyata, NBBooks, eglantine, aloevera, wild hair, StrayCat, erratic, naptime, Rosaura, jerseyjo, Libby Shaw, se portland, SadieSue, JVolvo, totallynext, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, llbear, onionjim, BlueMississippi, bajadudes, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Whitefish, kurt, lynneinfla, Compostings, Statusquomustgo, Bernie68, Hovercraft Full of Eels, bstotts, nhox42, Elasg, bartcopfan, ipsos, Little, PatConnors, Aaa T Tudeattack, janetsal, cpresley, Thinking Fella, tegrat, clinging to hope, Sapere aude, FlamingoGrrl, pgm 01, bluicebank, BeninSC, zipn, goheelsgodems, bvljac, walkabout, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, peagreen, hawaii2, Cat Whisperer, Mr K, byDesign, tgypsy, weneedahero, devis1, ColoTim, paz3, yoduuuh do or do not, Van Buren, Wino, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, Mary Mike, Blue State 68, la urracca, wildweasels, HeartlandLiberal, Ticonderoga, Matt Z, terabytes, certainot, pipsorcle, sfbob, bnasley, mbh1023, HCKAD, GMFORD, cyncynical, Killer of Sacred Cows, Bridge Master, jhop7, carpunder, gaardvark, Librarianmom, Wreck Smurfy, cececville, christianlsv, journeyman, madgranny, KJC MD, skod, conniptionfit, BasharH, Azubia, Assaf, South Park Democrat, on the cusp, Empower Ink, alba, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, JDWolverton, MKinTN, tejanablue, olo, gundyj, misterwade, windje, also mom of 5, TX Freethinker, BobBlueMass, gfv6800, HappyinNM, wayoutinthestix, MikePhoenix, spacejam, OleHippieChick, mamamedusa, Sixty Something, Youffraita, prettyobvious, Aureas2, Involuntary Exile, NewDealer, smrichmond, Fe Bongolan, skohayes, CDH in Brooklyn, alasmoses, Its any one guess, lavorare, jamess, Happy Days, Americans for a Republican Irrelevancy, weddedgay, Calamity Jean, Lujane, tofumagoo, royce, boatjones, RandomNonviolence, hwmnbn, Hanging Up My Tusks, icebergslim, vernonbc, Missys Brother, Jeff Y, catly, mofembot, ClapClapSnap, Kathy S, codairem, Gemina13, exdiplopat, glendaw271, bakenjuddy, petulans, mosec, Boy Howdy, MinervainNH, gas28man, Keninoakland, tethys, HarpboyAK, JamieG from Md, magicsister, Mayfly, SpiffPeters, GrannyOPhilly, shortgirl, oldliberal, LaFeminista, 207wickedgood, maggiejean, BerkshireDem, Bule Betawi, multilee, Rhysling, artmartin, J M F, Kansas Born, Glacial Erratic, ARS, ceebee7, jarbyus, bobatkinson, bsmechanic, CanyonWren, LeftOfYou, WakeUpNeo, jennylind, rbird, BlueInRedCincy, mkor7, DefendOurConstitution, Sandrews, Bonsai66, followyourbliss, geebeebee, manucpa, elziax, oxfdblue, mksutherland, Leslie in KY, Keith Pickering, winkk, IreGyre, Ibis Exilis, sfarkash, Lacy LaPlante, ayjaymay, nancat357, MizKit, astral66, schnecke21, deviant24x, Leftcandid, Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno, nocynicism, collardgreens, Larsstephens, indianobserver, cassandraX, Railfan, Just Bob, parse this, coppercelt, mamamorgaine, political junquie, awcomeon, willynel, flitedocnm, roadbear, Shannon S, The Jester, NJpeach, estreya, leftywright, catwho, kjoftherock, secret38b, Orlaine, Crabby Abbey, LOrion, mookins, Simple, dagnome, ATFILLINOIS, Eddie L, Nurse Jeckell, psychbob, batchick, manyamile, samanthab, pixxer, ItsSimpleSimon, Hoopgreen, Puddytat, anonevent, AJ in Camden, DiegoUK, NYWheeler, SoonerG, rja, Betty Pinson, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, Otteray Scribe, Murchadha, DaveinBremerton, Nada Lemming, petesmom, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, Dems in 08, nosleep4u, Oldguy51, Actbriniel, slice, tgrshark13, newusername, Quantumlogic, Joe Hills Ghost, theKgirls, Onomastic, Reetz, janemas, Maximilien Robespierre, Jasel, misshelly, yellow cosmic seed, kerflooey, surfermom, Front Toward Enemy, Bluefin, Liberal Capitalist, Bob Duck, Will in Chicago, bgblcklab1, slowbutsure, afisher, sabo33, sostos, implicate order, vahana, cv lurking gf, Mr MadAsHell, La Gitane, BlueJessamine, hagarwood, BlackQueen40, Eclectablog, MrSpock, itzik shpitzik, BldrJanet, bookgirl, ncarolinagirl, Nicci August, deeproots, Teiresias70, CoExistNow, jared the bassplayer, molunkusmol, mrsgoo, Haf2Read, marleycat, zukesgirl64, Kokomo for Obama, AgavePup, Cinnamon, IllanoyGal, thomask, dle2GA, Ojibwa, Mark Tapley, BarackStarObama, political mutt, smoothnmellow, KVoimakas, sofa turf, jhb90277, LSmith, Grandma Susie, createpeace, dougbob, worldlotus, wintergreen8694, whoknu, peregrine kate, myrmecia gulosa, bluedust, Imhotepsings, poliwrangler, VTCC73, disconnect the dots, diffrntdrummr, Vatexia, balmerUSA, blue aardvark, SoCalSal, SteelerGrrl, rscopes, greenotron, leftykook, jadt65, DRo, Mentatmark, caryltoo, jaebone, Davui, Mortifyd, ArtemisBSG, Laurel in CA, Porterhouse, BlueDragon, dobleremolque, SuWho, KansasNancy, chmood, Eowyn9, KiB, bluezen, Heart n Mind, anodnhajo, sow hat, Anybody Can Be Great, Siri, IndieGuy, ahumbleopinion, SilverWillow, DrLori, rustypatina, pitbullgirl65, tb92, orangecurtainlib, barkingcat, Joieau, a2nite, Farkletoo, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, joeschmeaux, This old man, chicagobleu, The Voice from the Cave, DrCoyle65, carolanne, Edward Adams, radical simplicity, hardart, Lilredhead, Arahahex, BusyinCA, Olkate, MartyM, Canines and Crocodiles, BRog, burnt out, aznavy, doroma, cuphalffull, OllieGarkey, rebereads, New Minas, flume, wxorknot, avsp, Denver11, rat racer, Victim of Circumstance, monkeybox, Glen The Plumber, Spirit of Life, T C Gibian, dotdash2u, George3, Kayjay, Marjmar, databob, mumtaznepal, Bisbonian, Windowpane, Robynhood too, ShoshannaD, WheninRome, Heavy Mettle, Greatwyrm, corpsechorus, Greenfinches, nuclear winter solstice, UnionMade, Lily O Lady, Blue Bell Bookworm, nomandates, Panacea Paola, ClydeGrubbs, Dallas L, onceasgt, simple serf, TheMeansAreTheEnd, countwebb, newinfluence, Linda1961, kickthecan, remembrance, CharlesInCharge, Eastern Bluebird, Witgren, 84thProblem, gypsytoo, HedwigKos, Rileycat, aresea, Urban Owl, SheilaKinBrooklyn, leeleedee, libraboom, Jollie Ollie Orange, Jeff Murdoch, JerryNA, howabout, JosephK74, helpImdrowning, Icicle68, GreenMother, Smoh, nice marmot, BadKitties, ET3117, Hey338Too, Mike Kahlow, Blazehawkins, runfastandwin, tampaedski, Very Lefty 60, Militant Apathy, The Beet, Theodore J Pickle, Ishmaelbychoice, amparo fan, duhban, Deep Throat, OregonWetDog, Catkin, WFBMM, ArcticStones, starduster, dreamweaver1, TheDuckManCometh, brianmkennedy, sfsteach, The Marti, blugrlnrdst, RUNDOWN, julesrules39, mulesrule, Ticorules, Dodgerdog1, HadEnoughYet, eagleray, ExpatGirl, Capt Crunch, Fish Man, marykmusic, socialistfolkstick, rcbouch, RANDREWF, Gurnt, kkkkate, DoggieBytes, dragonwerx, Azehav, stitchingasfastasIcan, Selphinea, liberaldad2

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site