Congressional Restraint: Feature, Not Bug

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As the government shutdown enters its third week, calls for Republican “compromise” mount. On Friday, Michael Needham of Heritage Action told the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore enough already (emphasis added):

So what is the endgame—is there any exit strategy short of Mr. Obama rolling over? Mr. Needham admits that ObamaCare will never be repealed as long as Mr. Obama is president, but he still thinks it can be defunded or delayed: “Look, Democrats usually win these fights because they do a better job of not cracking. Obama says he will never blink and we believe him. They’re very good at this. We’re obviously very bad at it.”

At some point, doesn’t there have to be a compromise? That’s the way the system works, after all. Yes, Mr. Needham agrees, “at some point in this fight somebody has to blink.” His mission, he says, is to persuade “the House not to blink first.”

Needham is correct; that’s the fight right now. The President and his allies in the Senate caused this “shutdown.” They are holding other parts of government hostage in exchange for their unpopular healthcare program. The law isn’t good enough for Congress, even when House Republicans offered to fund Obamacare; Senate Democrats rejected the offer because their exemption wasn’t included in the legislation.

Needham also outlined in no uncertain terms how the President’s agenda includes ever increasing spending, regardless of opposition within Congress:

This power-of-the-purse issue is a huge bone of contention between the left and the right as they grapple over how the $3.5 trillion government in Washington gets funded. Mr. Obama contends that one party controlling one chamber of the legislature doesn’t have the unilateral right to decide what gets funded and what doesn’t. Conservatives like Mr. Needham insist that the liberals are wrong.

“What Mr. Obama is really saying,” Mr. Needham says, “is ‘Washington should be on autopilot,’ right? And if that’s the case, Democrats should have the honesty to say we should repeal the congressional power of the purse. And we should say, ‘Look, we’ve got a perpetual appropriation.’ “His point is that this isn’t the way the Founders set up the government.

Should the House demand policy changes from the White House and the Senate? The House was given a great deal of power in the Constitution for exactly this reason, to prevent Congress from rubber stamping an overreaching Executive Branch.

Needham’s interview is worth reading in full, especially as a counter to mainstream media’s howling over Republicans finally acting as fiscal conservatives. Congress was created to restrain the Presidency, and that’s exactly what the House is doing.