Heitkamp’s antics were unhelpful to finding a shutdown resolution
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the few Democrats who voted with Republicans to keep the federal government open.
Good on her, though the vote looks more calculated than authentic when you consider which other Senate Democrats voted like Heitkamp did.
The list, in addition to Heitkamp, includes Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Doug Jones of Alabama.
The common denominator among these Democrats? Aside from Jones, the rest are up for re-election this year in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Jones, of course, won narrowly in Trump country last year thanks to Republicans in Alabama choosing an awful candidate in Roy Moore, but he’s not up for re-election this cycle.
All of these Democrats, including Heitkamp, got a pass to vote as they did. Because Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t need their votes to shutdown the government.
You have to wonder how Heitkamp would have voted had Schumer needed her to sustain his filibuster?
Given that Heitkamp voted loyally with the Democratic minority against tax reform, I think we can safely assume that she probably would have voted to shut down the government had Schumer asked it of her.
But that speculation aside, what Heitkamp actually did amid the ridiculous Washington budget brinkmanship was a sad commentary on her brand of petty, point-scoring politics.
Into the miasma of finger-pointing and partisan posturing, Heitkamp proposed legislation to deny members of Congress their pay during a government shutdown.
“If members of Congress can’t fulfill their basic duty to keep the government open and provide the essential services Americans depend on, then they don’t deserve their paychecks. Period,” an insufferably pompous Heitkamp said of the legislation in a press release.
Maybe members of Congress should be denied their pay if the government gets shut down, though you could argue that some members of Congress were still earning their pay. After all, the House of Representatives passed a bill to keep the government open. A Republican-led majority in the Senate also voted to keep the government open.
Perhaps only those who obstruct the budgeting process over petty policy grievances unrelated to the budget should have their pay denied?
Regardless, Heitkamp injected this self-serving grandstanding into an already fraught political environment.
At a time when some Republicans and Democrats were trying to find a way forward, to get the government open again, Heitkamp was trying to score cheap political points.
Ranting about pay for politicians is the sort of low-brow politics that has served Heitkamp well over the years. She’s very good at fomenting hatred for her political enemies, usually through her various surrogates in her campaign or party structure.
Or through her mouthpieces in the media.
But that doesn’t mean we should reward it.
Heitkamp likes to posture herself as a moderate who is in politics to get things done. Putting lie to that posturing are stunts like this one.