The road to shutdown: Here's how Boehner says we got here 

Unless something dramatic happens in the next 12 hours or so, a partial government shutdown appears all but inevitable, as President Obama earlier today rejected a House GOP proposal for another stop-gap continuing resolution that would have cuty $12 billion from 2011 outlays.

But even if there is such a last-minute deal, Congress has been preoccupied with 2011 spending since last October under the previous Democratic majority when for the first time ever, House leaders decided not to follow the law and enact a 2011 budget. That's when the current sequence of goverrnment-by-CR commenced.

Here's what's happened in the intervening months, according to Don Seymour, a senior aide to Boehner (I've asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for an alternative timeline, if she is so inclined):

· April 15, 2010 – The Democrat-run Congress misses the deadline under the Congressional Budget Act to complete action on a FY11 budget. Both the House and the Senate, each under Democratic majorities, fail to even offer a budget proposal.

· June 22, 2010 – Democrats officially punt and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) admits the House won’t propose a 2011 budget, leaving the tough choices for another day. For the first time in modern history, the House of Representatives will fail to even consider a budget for the following fiscal year.

· September 30, 2010 –The Democrat-run Congress approves the first of several short-term measures to keep the government running – this one through December 3. In the coming months Democrats would fail to pass a long-term funding measure, eventually punting spending decisions until March 4, 2011 – during the next Congress.

· January 5, 2011 – While the 112th Congress begins with a new Republican majority in the House, Democrats still run both the Senate and the White House. The House immediately begins keeping its Pledge to America, requiring that bills be posted online three days before a vote and cutting Congress’ budget by 5 percent.

· January 30, 2011 – Ignoring the Americans who want spending cuts and determined to protect their job-crushing spending binge, Democrats are caught rooting for a government shutdown. A few days later, CNN would report that “it is the Democrats talking most about shutting down the government.”

· February 13, 2011 - Speaker Boehner sends President Obama a statement from 150 American economists urging an end to “stimulus” spending and calling for immediate spending cuts to boost our economy and help create a better environment for job creation in America.

· February 19, 2011 – The Republican-led House passes H.R. 1, legislation that cuts spending and keeps the government running for the rest of this fiscal year. Stanford economist John B. Taylor says the spending cuts in H.R. 1 “will increase economic growth and employment,” and “encourage job-producing private sector investment.”

· February 22, 2011 – As Democrats continue to root for a shutdown, Speaker Boehner reiterates that “Republicans’ goal is to cut spending and reduce the size of government, not to shut it down.” The following day, ABC News reports that Senate Democrats are huddling with an “army of lobbyists” to resist spending cuts and fight to keep their spending binge going.

· March 1, 2011 – The Senate refuses to pass a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, so the House passes legislation cutting $4 billion in spending over two weeks to give Senate Democrats more time to pass a bill of their own or offer a credible plan to cut spending.

· March 3, 2011 – The White House’s lead negotiator, VP Joe Biden, heads to the Capitol Building for talks – then leaves town for an “overseas jaunt” to Europe. Politico went on to report that Democrats are “wobbly in their budget message, divided on major votes and out of sync with the White House.”

· March 15, 2011 – With the White House not engaged and the Senate failing to pass a bill or offer a credible plan, the House passes another measure giving Senate Democrats three more weeks to get serious while cutting another $6 billion. The deadline for action is now April 8.

· March 17, 2011 – Politico says Democratic lawmakers “aren’t sure whether the White House even has a position on a long-term spending bill.”

· March 29, 2011 – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is overheard giving ‘marching orders’ to other Democratic Senators to call the GOP ‘extreme’ shortly after former DNC Chairman Howard Dean said that Washington Democrats should be ‘quietly’ rooting for a government shutdown.

· March 30, 2011 – Freshmen Republican lawmakers begin rallying outside the Capitol, urging the Senate to do its job and “pass a bill.” Democrats tell reporters they finally have a plan, so Speaker Boehner calls on them to “pass the damn thing … instead of sitting over there and rooting for a government shutdown.” They don’t.

· April 4, 2011 – Associated Press says Democrats are pushing “foggy” and “phantom” savings behind the scenes. Speaker Boehner says “many of the cuts that the White House and Senate Democrats are talking about are full of smoke and mirrors,” and “[i]f the government shuts down, it will be because Senate Democrats failed to do their job.”

· TODAY, April 5, 2011 – In lieu of an agreement in which the White House and Senate agree to real spending cuts, House Republicans introduced a potential continuing resolution that funds our troops through September while cutting an additional $12 billion in spending and keeps the government running for another week.

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Mark Tapscott

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