What Fox Isn't Saying About The GOP “Conference” Plan To End Shutdown

Fox News used a proposal to convene a Senate conference on budget issues to attack Senate Democrats, ignoring the fact that Republicans blocked the formation of such a conference earlier in the year.

Fox News Personalities Use Budget Conference Proposal To Attack Senate Democrats

Kilmeade: I Just Don't Know Why They Didn't Just Conference In The Beginning.  On the October 1 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck read a viewer comment stating that “it's amazing that the blame” for the shutdown “is not laid at the source, [Sen.] Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate.” Co-host Brian Kilmeade agreed, saying, “I just don't know why they didn't conference to begin with”:

KILMEADE:  And instead of helping Congress reach a deal to reopen the government, President Obama is meeting with people who are signing up for Obamacare this hour. 

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Great. Although we have heard that -- in fact, we went on to the government website. There are a couple of problems with it right now. Essentially a busy signal. But you can imagine that that would happen on the first day, even though they did have three years to work the bugs out. 

HASSELBECK: Right, and they've been anticipating glitches and delaying some set-ups. We actually have some e-mails coming in for us. So if you can't get them online, we have them for you here. We have one from John in Florida: “It's amazing that the blame is not laid at the source, Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate. How many years and days since a real budget has been passed?” 

 KILMEADE: I just don't know why they didn't conference to begin with. I know how different both budgets were. But for the first time really since President Obama took office, we had two budgets. Why weren't they conferencing?

DOOCY: Good question. They're barely talking to each other. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/1/13]

But Republicans Blocked Formation Of A Budget Conference Earlier This Year

The Hill: Senate Republicans Prevented Sen. Reid “From Setting Up A Budget Conference.” An April 23 article in The Hill reported that Republicans blocked Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) from forming a budget conference:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday prevented Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from setting up a budget conference.

Reid sought the Senate's unanimous consent to form a budget conference committee aimed at reconciling the wildly different House and Senate budget resolutions, but Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) objected.

Toomey said he was objecting on behalf of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee who had a conflict and could not be present. 

“It seems House Republicans don't want to be seen even discussing the possibility of compromise with the Democrats for fear of a Tea Party revolt,” Reid said. [The Hill, 4/23/13]

Wash. Post's Robinson: GOP Refused “To Allow The Senate To Appoint Its Representatives To The Conference.” In a May 30 Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson pointed out that after the House passed its version of the budget, the House and Senate should convene a committee to “iron out differences” but Senate Republicans “won't let this happen”:

Two months ago, Reid and the Democrats finally passed a budget. Since the House has already passed its version -- the controversial plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) -- the next step should be for both chambers to appoint members of a conference committee that would iron out the differences. But Republicans won't let this happen.

Specifically, far-right conservatives including Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky are refusing to allow the Senate to appoint its representatives to theconference. Yes, having demanded this budget for four years, Republicans are now refusing to let it go forward. [The Washington Post5/30/13]

Sen. McCain Called GOP's Refusal To Convene Committee “Absolutely Out Of Line And Unprecedented.” The Washington Post's WonkBlog quoted Sen. John McCain calling fellow Senate Republicans' refusal to participate in a budget conference “absolutely out of line and unprecedented”:

The quick background here is that congressional Republicans have spent years calling for a return to “regular order” in which the House writes a budget, the Senate writes a budget, and the two chambers move to a conference committee to hash out their differences. This year, for the first time since 2009, Senate Democrats wrote and passed a full budget, shepherding it to passage through an open amendment process. Now various Senate Republicans are blocking the move towards conference -- blocking, in other words, the move towards the regular order they demanded.

On the Senate floor last night, McCain and Collins unloaded on their colleagues. “What are we on my side of the aisle doing?” McCain asked. “We don't want a budget unless we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented?” [The Washington Post5/22/13]

Fox News Pundits Have Called On Republicans Not To Compromise With Democrats

Hannity Tells GOP Lawmakers: Don't Compromise To Avoid A Shutdown. Hannity told Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), “I believe that the Republicans need to stand by their promise” to repeal Obamacare, adding, “I don't think this is something they should compromise on.” [Fox News, Hannity4/18/13]

Fox Host Hannity: Republicans Should “Shut The Government Down” To Repeal Obamacare, “And I Want Them To Do It.” On the March 18 edition of his Fox News show, host Sean Hannity urged GOP lawmakers to shut down the government in order to repeal ACA. [Fox News, Hannity3/18/13, via Media Matters]

Contributor Erick Erickson: Shutting Down The Government Over Obamacare Is “The Right Thing To Do.” On the September 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox contributor Erick Erickson called shutting down the government over the ACA “the right thing to do”:

ERICKSON: You've got dozens and dozens of Republicans who ran into office and got elected saying they were going to do every single thing they could to stop Obamacare. They have a choice now right now to defund it. And now they're saying, “Oh well we can't do that because we might get blamed for a shutdown.” So what? It's the right thing to do. American companies are shutting down because they won't shut down Obamacare. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/13/13, via Media Matters

Contributor Karl Rove: “We Need To Have A President Who Will Sign A Measure Defunding, Repealing, Getting Rid Of, And Replacing Obamacare.” On the September 23 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Karl Rove explained that he favors a “delay strategy” on the health care law until we “have a president who will sign a measure defunding, repealing, getting rid of, and replacing Obamacare, and until we have a president who is going to do that we are going to be fighting.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor9/23/13, via Media Matters]

Contributor Sarah Palin: “We Need To Repeal The Whole Darn Thing, And That Starts With Defunding It.” In a post on her Facebook account, Fox contributor Sarah Palin attacked President Obama's health care law, calling it an “enormous train wreck” and urging Republicans to defund it. She added: “Demand a full repeal, an immediate defunding, and some resignations.” [Facebook.com, 9/12/13]

Fox Radio Host Todd Starnes On Defunding: “Anything Less Is A Betrayal To The People.” Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes called on Republicans to defund Obamacare, even if it leads to a government shutdown:

Push will come to shove and Republicans need to be willing to shove back. If that means a government shutdown in October -- so be it.

“If there's ever been a time for politicians to take a risk on their next election, it's stopping the government takeover of healthcare,” said Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation. “This is not about political party or political calculation.”

We need men and women who share DeMint's fortitude in the House and Senate. We need lawmakers who are willing to stand their ground and stand up for the American people.


It's time for Republicans to stand up and do the job they were elected to do. Anything less is a betrayal to the people who sent them to Washington, D.C. [FoxNews.com, 9/20/13]