House Republicans will take another symbolic shot at forcing the Senate’s hand in the budget battle by passing a bill Friday that they characterized as another attempt to avert a government shutdown.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Wednesday Republicans would pass legislation decreeing that, absent Senate passage of a budget bill by the April 8 deadline, the measure approved by the House in February would become “the law of the land.”
Ah, no. That's sort of not how government works.
You see, the problem with passing legislation in the House decreeing that, absent Senate passage of a budget bill (and no, it's not really a budget bill, it's an appropriations bill, but everybody's using that shorthand) by the April 8 deadline, the measure approved by the House in February would become "the law of the land" is that the legislation decreeing that would have to be... passed by the Senate.
And that's what makes the legislation "symbolic." Although I don't think it was supposed to be symbolic of the fact that Republicans don't know how this stuff works. But what do I know? Maybe the plan is to have the law "published" at a Kinko's in Wisconsin.
PUBLICATION OF THE ACT.—In publishing this Act in slip form and in the United States Statutes at Large pursuant to section 112 of title 1, United States Code, the Archivist of the United States shall include after the date of approval, if applicable, an appendix setting forth the text of the bill referred to in subsection (a).
The problem with that, of course, is that the Archivist of the United States will tell them to go take a flying leap unless this bill is enacted into law. Which it can't be unless the Senate agrees. And the Senate's already voted on "the bill referred to in subsection (a)," and it laid an egg.
So is there anything at all to make Republicans think the Senate will change its mind about it the second time? Well, the plan is that Section 3 of this bill will do it. Section 3 purports to cut off paychecks for Members of Congress in the event of a shutdown, which I suppose makes for good politics. Vote against this profoundly stupid bill, and they'll say you voted to keep paying yourself during the shutdown.
Only the Senate has already passed a bill to do that. A month ago. And it's been sitting at the desk in the House since March 1 with no action. So I'm thinking maybe they won't be real tempted.
This is the gang we're supposed to all be rooting for "bipartisan compromise" with, folks. And their position is: if we don't get our way, we'll halfway pass a bill saying shut up, yes we did.
We're obviously ready for serious talks.