Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Barlow Herget Commentary
Barlow Herget is a commentator and host on State Government Radio at Curtis Media. He has been a commentator on UNC public radio and an instructor in continuing education at Duke University. Herget was a Nieman Fellow ('70) at Harvard University, has worked for the Daily Press of Paragould, Ark., the Detroit Free Press, and the News & Observer of Raleigh. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times and numerous other publications. Contact him by email.
Please, no 'shut 'er down' here
Monday - 4/18/2011, 1:32pm EDT
Political analysts and Sunday spin-doctors have blamed both sides for the standoff, but that's not entirely accurate. Democrats are criticized for not adopting this year's budget in October when they had majorities in the House and Senate.
That's a justified criticism, but it omits the constant threats by Senate Republicans to filibuster any such legislation. Ever since President Obama's election, Senate Republicans have held up bills and federal judicial appointments at a record count. No one expected they would do less on the budget bill.
When Republicans took over the House in January, House Speaker John Boehner called for $32 billion in additional cuts for this year's budget, not next year. The Republican Tea Party contingent a day later upped the figure to $100 billion.
The two sides began negotiations, but increasingly, they began talking about a shut down in the government if they could not reach a compromise figure. There is little doubt, however, that it was Republicans who were ready to "shut 'er down" as a Tea Party protester demanded outside the Capitol.
This call for chaos fits with the general attitude of the new Republican majority in Washington. They are looking for confrontations and are sneering at compromise.
When both sides, for example, were ready to agree on a figure, right wing conservatives began adding more demands or "riders" to the bill. These riders aimed severe cuts at traditional Republican targets, Planned Parenthood, the Public Broadcasting System, the EPA.
Indeed, Mr. Boehner needed Democratic votes in the House to approve the compromise. The final agreement settled on 38 billion dollars and no riders.
His leadership will be tested again when the Congress must approve lifting the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others in both parties have warned about the consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised and the United States goes into default on its bills. Plunging the fragile recovery back into recession is a likely outcome.
But House Republicans are talking again about taking the economy to the brink if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats don't agree to more spending cuts.
This is not a game of "chicken," and Republicans, already losing favor with voters according to recent polls, should put the country's welfare ahead of their itch for another confrontation. Which is what they must do in the end.