No. And that is a very big problem.
The Republican House has a metaphorical gun to the head of the American people. It is disguised as legislation that provides for money for the federal government to operate. For a variety of reasons, the money runs out on March 4. If Congress -- both the House and the Senate -- do not agree on funding legislation that is then signed by President Obama, the federal government shuts down.
While the Republican legislation does make severe financial cuts to critical public responsibilities, the intoxicated Republican members of the House are using the bill to force the Senate and the Obama administration to adopt radical policies -- particularly hurting women and our environment -- that would not stand the light of day.
It is a giant game of high-stakes chicken where the Republicans and their radical allies are betting that Senate Democrats and President Obama would rather abandon women's reproductive rights and environmental protection than shut the government down.
They are probably right. There is little evidence that either the president or the Senate has the stomach for this fight. If one needs evidence, just think back two months to the spectacular cave in on the budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and the way that women's reproductive rights were trampled in the fight for health care reform.
There is zero evidence that abandoning women and the environment is what the American public wants. It is only what the new, hard-right Republican majority in the House wants. And they have written into a budget language that strips Planned Parenthood of critical health care funding, redefines rape, and allows hospitals to turn away women who need an abortion to survive. They have prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency from acting on the clear scientific consensus that global warming is real and accelerating. And since they are clearly willing to shut down a federal government, they have the upper hand.
I do not want my senators to cave in to this form of hostage taking. I want them to draw a line in the sand that is crystal clear and say "not one step farther" on reproductive rights and the environment. It only takes 41 senators who care more about choice and the environment than the Tea Party does about phony deficits or the anti-choice zealots do about abortion. If they care more, then we win. If they care less, we lose on fundamental issues.
The American people do not want the federal government to shut down, nor do they want to strip women of fundamental freedoms or abandon the earth to global warming.
It is up to the Senate to tell the American people that this is only a choice if we accept the world as envisioned by the House Republicans.
If you believe that President Obama will protect reproductive rights and the environment, it is time to carefully read his statement threatening a veto of the Republican House plan. He said that the bill cut too much money from the military budget for him to sign it. Not a word on reproductive rights or the environment. The wheels on the bus under which women and the environment could be thrown are turning rapidly.
I care more about protecting the rights of women and defending the environment that John Boehner cares about defunding Planned Parenthood and the EPA. But do Senate Democrats? We need to make them care that much.
My company is urging the Senate to call the bluff of the House. You can join us here.