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Letter to the Editor: Shutdown or Shut up, That is the Question

Republicans have been accused by the President and Democrat party leaders of "shutting down the government." I reject the Democrats' deliberate and untruthful misrepresentation of the facts.

First, the Constitution establishes the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government as co-equals. In this framework, the House has the sole right to grant or withhold money. All spending bills must originate in the House, which means that the House – in its sole discretion – proposes whether or not money should be spent on a particular government activity. If one wants further proof, read Federalist 58, written by James Madison, which states in part:

"The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government ... This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."

Second, the Republican-controlled House – elected by the people of the United States, just like the President, who continually reminds us elections have consequences – voted for a bill that would fund all aspects of the government except for the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act. This is a fact, documented in the Congressional Record, and is not a matter of opinion.

Therefore, whether one favors or does not favor the healthcare law, the House of Representatives – by its constitutional authority – can determine what it wants to fund or not to fund. It is the Senate's prerogative to accept or reject the House's proposal. Differences are supposed to be worked out in conference, the bill amended and agreed by both bodies, and sent to the President for signature or veto.

The current unpleasantness arises because the Senate and the President – the Democrat controlled branches of government – have refused to engage in their constitutionally mandated duty to bring the House's bill to the Senate floor or negotiate a resolution. Instead, Harry Reid and President Obama decided that it was to their political advantage to do nothing.

So, if you think talk is cheap, then apparently not talking is very expensive, and in this case, the cost can be laid at the feet of President Barack Obama and Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Kris AllenKris Allen

Managing Partner, Virginia Education Coalition

Virginia Education Coalition (VEC) is an alliance of conservative grass roots activists and organizations. We support state-led, market-based education reform and oppose nationalization of the United States' elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education systems.

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