Sixth District Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN), who was recently elevated to the position of House Budget Chair and who is widely rumored to be preparing for a Gubernatorial bid in 2018, is on the receiving end of criticism for her role in the Continuing Resolution that will keep the Federal Government operating despite the failure of Congress to pass a budget. The Continuing Resolution averts a government shutdown but does not fulfill many of the promises that Republicans made during the 2016 election cycle. The budget deal passed the House 309-118.
Though she was one of the 118 House members who voted no, Congresswoman Black has drawn particular criticism for her role in the deal as new Budget Chair, especially since she has voted against previous Continuing Resolutions that continued to fund Planned Parenthood in similar fashion.
Sharon Ford, President of the Tennessee Republican Assembly, noted that Black may have been given cover by the House Leadership to avoid complete responsibility for the budget mess, but that she is Budget Chair and the buck ultimately stops with her. “She can point the finger of blame at others and cast a no vote to pretend she is a budget hawk, but she is the Budget Chair and there is no budget, there is no Wall, and there IS continued spending for Planned Parenthood,” Ford pointed out. “She is quick to claim credit for chairing a powerful committee, but what have the voters got to show for HER power?”
A meme circulating on the internet asks Black specifically “Where’d the Wall Go” with a “Where’s Waldo” theme. Black, along with all of the other Tennessee Republican Congressional delegations except Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, voted against the budget deal. Democrats Cooper and Cohen joined Fleischmann in voting “yes.”
Judson Phillips, Founder of the Tea Party Nation, places the blame squarely on the Senate, which continues to allow the filibuster process to continue and which has kept the U.S. government from passing a budget in about a decade. “When the Republican leadership says we won’t shut down the government and won’t change the rules to abolish the filibuster, the Democrats have veto power over all legislation.” Philips says that Capitol Hill insiders have told him that the Democrats intend to abolish the rule as soon as they regain power. “So why shouldn’t we change the rules NOW and pass the legislation that Republicans have long promised and the American people have long demanded?” Phillips asked.
Most notably, the spending authorization continues to fund Planned Parenthood, provides funds to sanctuary cities and does NOT fund the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that President Donald Trump made a centerpiece of his campaign for the White House. The White House has been quick to respond to Democrats bragging that the deal represents a clear victory for them over the Trump Administration, with White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney conducting an aggressive media blitz since the deal was announced on Monday. Nevertheless, despite the President’s anger at the media portrayal of the deal, conservatives are not pleased with the capitulation on so many critical items.