Government Shutdown
There is a need to pass a bill extending routine government funding after a stopgap bill expires March 27. Without an extension, a partial government shutdown would occur. Congress must pass this spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October, 2013. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury “would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15. The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion. The debt limit has been raised 13 times since 2001 and has grown from about 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2001 to 102 percent of GDP last year.

Government Shutdown As Self-Promotion

from The Wall Street Journal,

Planned Parenthood ought to be defunded, but trying to do it this way invites disaster.

For the right reasons, congressional Republicans want to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion provider. Horrific undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress show Planned Parenthood officials blithely talking about selling fetal organs. One video shows a former technician for StemExpress, a company that worked with Planned Parenthood, explaining how she used scissors to cut apart “the most gestated fetus and closest thing to a baby I’ve seen” to “procure a brain.” These Republicans’ motive is sound, but the problem is tactics. Some in the GOP say that unless Planned Parenthood is defunded, they’re willing to shut down the federal government—which would be a disaster for the pro-life cause. Only 41% of Americans support cutting off taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, and 51% oppose it, according to an Aug. 25 Quinnipiac University poll. Only 22% favor a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding; 69% oppose the idea. When pollsters asked who voters would blame more for such a shutdown, 41% said Republicans in Congress and 33% President Obama and Democrats. These numbers help explain why the nation’s largest, most influential pro-life group, the National Right to Life Committee, doesn’t support a government shutdown. “Quite frankly, I think Planned Parenthood is a vile organization, and I resent the fact that they get any tax money,” NRLC President Carol Tobias told the New York Times. “But realistically, with President Obama in the White House holding that veto pen, I don’t know that any government shutdown could accomplish what we want.”

Less than half of Americans have heard of or watched the undercover videos, according to an Aug. 13 Fox News poll, and too many see Planned Parenthood as a women’s health-care provider, not an abortion mill. A shutdown would give Planned Parenthood an opportunity to play the victim, and the majority of taxpayer dollars it receives are from mandatory spending programs like Medicaid, which is not subject to a shutdown. Rather than pick a losing battle, the NRLC calls for congressional hearings to educate the public on Planned Parenthood’s abhorrent practices. Ms. Tobias also wants pro-lifers to keep their eye on 2016: “What we have to do is get a new pro-life president in, and we’d have a much better chance of actually taking away their money.”

If right-to-life leaders oppose a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood, why are some Republicans so intent on trying to force one? A few presidential hopefuls seem to want a shutdown to burnish their credentials with primary voters. But they cannot explain how they will get the votes to pass the defunding measure or overcome a presidential veto. Without such a plan, this is simply self-promotion.

Republicans in Congress who want to risk a shutdown over Planned Parenthood have an obligation to spell out how they would get it done. They can’t. That’s why any Republicans who engineer a shutdown will be unwitting allies of the abortion movement. Life is too important to let the GOP’s suicide caucus damage the cause with such an ill-considered effort.

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