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The House of Refusentatives

The Ohio Clock outside the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill shows the time of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 in Washington. Congress was unable to reach a midnight deadline to keep the government funded, triggering the first government shutdown in more than 17 years. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I couldn’t find “refusentatives” anywhere in the dictionary. But being that they refused to touch a thing the Senate sent back, House of Refusentatives fits nicely, I think.

The Speaker of the House refused to bring up a straight resolution to keep the government running because he knew it would pass with Democratic votes, and that would make him a lame duck as Speaker. He would have to say goodbye to the largest and most beautiful office on Capitol Hill, with its crystal chandeliers, a terrace looking out on the Washington Monument.

And while you can accuse both sides of stubbornness, the fact remains, while the Senate voted on every proposal the House sent over, the House has refused to vote on what the Senate has sent back. And Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, pointed out something else most people have forgotten:

“We passed a budget six months ago. The House of Representatives passed a budget six months ago,” said Murray.

But Republicans refused to negotiate because the Senate budget included a big tax increase.

Ah, but last night, as midnight passed and the government shut down, everything changed.

“We’ve come up with this novel idea: Let’s go to conference,” suggested Rep. Joe Barton.

Suddenly in the House of Representatives, Republican after Republican said they now wanted to sit down for a conference, not on the real budget, but just on a stop gap until December.

In the meantime, you and I, mere taxpayers, are pawns in their great game. Little chess pieces, moved around by politicians behaving like petulant princelings in a country that pretends it’s done away with royalty.

Read more:
Congress plunges nation into government shutdown
Medved: Our wallets are victims in government drama

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