The Government shutdown 2013 is getting a little stressful for federal lawmakers: US Senator Harry Reid (D – Nev.) appears to be in hot water over comments about children suffering with cancer in an exchange with CNN reporter Dana Bash.
House Republicans are willing to pass individual bills that would independently fund the National Institutes of Health, national parks, and other programs, but Reid and his fellow Democrats in the Senate chamber have rejected taking any such piecemeal action.
In a press conference, Bash asked the Senate Majority Leader if the Democrats aren’t playing politics like the Republicans, then why not pass the NIH bill that will continue clinical trials for children with cancer?
In response, the visibly upset Reid started bashing Bash along with his political opponents:
“What right did [the House GOP] have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.”
Asked Bash: “But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Red then countered with “Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.”
Presumably Reid’s office will issue a statement of clarification.
This evening, congressional leaders met with the president and reportedly had a polite, cordial meeting. According House Speaker John Boehner, the president was unwilling to negotiate on ending the government shutdown, however.
The Legal Insurrection website suggests that Harry Reid may need to brush up on the US Constitution, particularly Ariticle 1, Section 7. “So Congress was given what is commonly known as the power of the purse, and at the Constitutional Convention it was decided that the House of Representatives should hold more of that power than the Senate because the House ‘was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.’ Aside from this balancing of fiscal power somewhat in favor of House over Senate, another goal was to make sure the executive did not spend money without congressional authorization. The framers had had experience with kings spending money without being directly answerable to the people, and they didn’t like it.”