by Charles Lemos, Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 01:36:39 PM EDT
A solemn and crestfallen Harry Reid took to the Senate floor today to express his dismay at what now looms as inevitable, a government shutdown.
"The numbers are basically there but I am not near as optimistic—and that’s an understatement—as I was 11 hours ago,” said the Senate Majority Leader from Nevada in an eloquent yet understated Senate floor speech on Thursday morning. On the chances of a government shutdown, Reid said, “It looks like it’s headed in that direction.”
If the numbers are there, then what is preventing a deal that would avert a costly and unnecessary disruption of government services? Well according to Senator Reid, Republicans tied to the Tea Party movement are insisting on attaching riders targeting abortion and clean air regulations that should be dealt with in regular legislation.
"It's not realistic to shut down the government on a debate dealing with abortion," Reid went on to say. "It's not fair to the American people."
Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly writes:
Republicans want to cut off Planned Parenthood and gut the Clean Air Act, but instead of pursuing legislation to achieve their goals, they're insisting that this be part of the budget. Democrats can't go along with this nonsense, and John Boehner is too weak a Speaker to tell his caucus to act like grown-ups, so the entire process is unraveling.
This has led to talk about the GOP shutting down the government over abortion, but even that's not quite right -- Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public funds to terminate pregnancies, and has been for many years. What we're talking about here is Republicans shutting down the government over access to contraception and family planning services.
This is the basis for the GOP hostage strategy.
One is simply dumbstruck at the radicalism of today's GOP and I cannot help but to ask how can the country endure in the face of an ever-widening cultural and ideological chasm? The worldview to which much of the GOP subscribes is one that we as a nation thought we had long put behind us but they want to repeal the twentieth century and they don't mind destroying the country in the process. If that doesn't worry and anger you, then nothing will.