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View Diary: Dear GOP, here's how you change a law (189 comments)

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  •  17 shutdowns 1976-96, by both parties (2+ / 0-)
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    SpamNunn, whaddaya
    …it must be said that there is a very clear, however cruel, logic to this shutdown, logic employed by members of both parties for decades. Dylan Matthews did us the favor of researching past government shutdowns, which were extremely regular for about 20 years, until the media successfully convinced the GOP that the 1996 shutdown cost them the Presidency (and not, er, Bob Dole’s campaign). The truth is that there were 17 government shutdowns from the initiation of the modern Congressional budget process in 1976 until 1996. Even after 1980, when rulings by Carter’s Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti mandated that government agencies receiving appropriations close down if funding ran out, government shutdowns occurred with disturbing regularity, with nine throughout the Reagan-Bush years, and two under Clinton. In fact, every time there has been divided government since the Ford Administration, the government has shut down at some point, with only one exception: the tenure of George W. Bush in 2007-2008.

    Other than that, this form has held, though the sample size is admittedly rather small. But before you, like many Democratic partisans, say “but everything’s changed, Democrats would never hold the government hostage over gun control,” consider the various policy reasons for government shutdowns over the past 37 years. There were four shutdowns over abortion funding in the 1970s, a Democratic-led shutdown over funding for the notorious MX missile in 1982, a Democratic-led shutdown over a Supreme Court civil rights ruling in 1984, a Democratic-led shutdown over expanding Aid to Families with Dependent Children (that’s welfare) in 1986, and a Democratic-led shutdown over aid to the Contras and the Fairness Doctrine(!) in 1987. So shutdowns were for quite a while part of the normal business of government. And as I said, there’s a cruel logic to them. When Congress and the White House are held by different parties, Congress has no bigger chip at their disposal than the power of the purse. So they use that, over and over again, to extract often unrelated policy concessions from the executive branch.

    David Dayen

    "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." President Barack Obama

    by quagmiremonkey on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 12:14:12 PM PDT

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