The Washington Post

Union to Eric Cantor: Watch ‘Schoolhouse Rock’

The House is set to vote Friday on the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” a largely symbolic Republican effort meant to press Senate Democrats to vote on a budget bill before the current short-term spending measure expires next Friday.

The bill is prompting a federal union leader to have a little fun at the expense of House Majority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.).


Cantor, lead sponsor of the bill, wants to make his House-passed budget measure with $61 billion in spending cuts the law of the land if the Senate fails to act. The measure also would withhold the pay of lawmakers until they complete the budget process.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, is opposed to the bill because it would “devastate important government services like food inspection, border protection and air safety,” she wrote in a letter to Cantor on Thursday.

Though she appreciates that he wants to quickly resolve the budget impasse, she has a “small problem” with his bill.

“It is my understanding that in order for a bill to become law it must be passed by the House and the Senate and signed by the President,” Kelley wrote. She suggested Cantor spend a few moments watching the clip above, a “Schoolhouse Rock” classic called, “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”

As “Bill the Bill” (“I’m just a bill”) explains to his young friend in the video, a bill begins in committee, moves to a full vote in the House of Representatives, and then “I go to the Senate and whole thing starts all over.”

Kidding aside, Cantor and his fellow Republicans have insisted this week that Senate Democrats are delaying budget negotiations in hopes of forcing a government shutdown. Negotiations spearheaded by Vice President Biden reinvigorated the discussions, but GOP freshmen are resisting a potential compromise suggested by their leaders, while others are raising questions about the constitutionality of Cantor’s bill.

So will President Obama ever sign a budget deal? To paraphrase “Bill the Bill,” folks may hope and pray that he will, but for now, it is still just a bill.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

RELATED: Full 2011 budget/government shutdown coverage

RELATED: Chat about the budget impasse at 11 a.m. with GovLoop and The Post’s Lisa Rein

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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