Democrats Going Off Message on Shutdown

by John Fund

Cracks in the monolithic wall Democrats have put up against reopening any individual part of government unless all of government is funded in one bill are starting to show. 

Today, Washington, D.C., mayor Vince Gray and D.C. House delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton crashed a news conference being held by Senate majority leader Harry Reid on the Capitol steps.

Reid didn’t appreciate the company. As Gray leaned into Reid and demanded federal money start flowing so the District can pay its bills, Reid responded, “I’m on your side. Don’t screw this up.”

Reid was probably nervous because at the mayor’s earlier news conference, Gray had stood next to Republican congressman Darrell Issa as he criticized the Democratic-led Senate for holding up the District spending bill, which has already passed the House.

“Every worker and every citizen of the District of Columbia needs to be counted as essential,” Issa said.

The last thing Harry Reid wants are prominent African-American Democrats demanding he follow the precedent the Senate set last week by funding a stand-alone bill for Pentagon spending by picking another part of the government they want to fund separately. Anything that undercuts Reid’s argument that individual spending bills are illegitimate makes his position harder to sell to a shutdown-weary public. 

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