The House of Representatives is currently passing small appropriations bills to restore funding to certain parts of the government — much like the one Obama signed the other day guaranteeing military pay. But the Democratic Senate and the White House say these are dead on arrival. Because even though the passage of such bills costs Republicans any leverage they thought they had against Obamacare, small bills will also harm the Democrats’ negotiating position as the “shutdown” has less and less effect on Americans’ lives.
In this clip, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., gets a taste of the same medicine Democrats have been dishing out in the Obamacare debate for years. Why, he is asked by CNN’s Dana Bash, will he not go forward if the House passes a bill restoring NIH funding so that about three dozen kids with cancer can get treatment right away?
Reid, looking a bit flummoxed, personally attacks Bash’s intelligence for asking the question.
Speaking of the House, Reid asks, “What right do they have to pick and choose what part of government’s going to be funded?”
There is actually an answer to this in the Constitution, in Article I, Section 9:
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law…”
Congress holds the power of the purse. As one of Congress’s two chambers, the House of Representatives has some power to decide which functions of government are funded.