What not enough people know, however, is that government was shut down only because House Speaker John Boehner didn’t allow a budgetary extension bill to come to the floor for a vote.
If it had been allowed a vote, the bill would have passed, in fact, keeping government offices (and employees and established services and parks and much, much more) continuously operable.
Twenty-eight Republicans in the House verified that they would have voted for its approval, as well as 200 Democrats. Because that 228 total surpasses majority of the 438 total votes in the U.S. House of Representatives, the budget extension would have passed with no problem.
But it didn’t. Because Boehner didn’t allow it. And the federal government has had to temporarily close dozens of offices and lay off over 800,000 Americans as a result.
This wasn’t a question about that extension bill or its provisions or its fine print, then; the shutdown only occurred because the House never got to vote on it.
So is that legitimate, then? Professional or moral? Is it even legal?
According to 18 U.S.C. § 2384:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
The only reason that House Republicans are blocking any vote on budget resolution is to delay execution of the Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010, and which was upheld by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012.
And remember that the ACA wasn’t event mentioned in the bill that House Leader John Boehner blocked from coming to the floor for a vote.
And remember that the ACA isn’t in any way relevant to that bill, either; no funding for any segment of it came from the budget resolution, after all, and the next phases of its implementation began the very next day, anyway.
So does this shutdown of the U.S. government over such a non-relevant issue constitute sedition, then?
While that’s a question that only scholarly attorneys and historians could answer, let me offer a layman’s response with another question: what would the GOP do if the president had shutdown the government by blocking a budget resolution that didn’t include provision for or mention of Obamacare, even though Obamacare wasn’t included in that bill?
Wouldn’t Boehner be occupying Fox News nonstop with charges and allegations about sedition? Would or would not the House GOP and its lobbyist supporters have the steps of the capitol littered with lawyers strewing subpoenas? Or do you think they’d just step aside and let Obama’s agenda work its way through without any contest?
This shutdown is without basis or foundation, and it’s without precedent. And it could very well be illegal, too, based on the definition of sedition.
Even if this shutdown response to irrelevant factors doesn’t constitute sedition, it’s at least hypocrisy. Just ask the American public.
A recent Washington Post survey finds that 70 percent of the general adult population (and 71 percent of registered voters, please note) disapproves of what Republicans in Congress are doing. To continue the shutdown, then, House GOP is only shooting itself in its own foot.
For the good of the American public, and for their own self-serving good, Boehner and other House Republicans should end this political trick.
If they don’t, it’s time for the American public to file charges of sedition.