The Byrd Center for Legislative Studies will be exploring the current government shutdown and also looking into history for what happened in the last major shutdown, the one in 1995-96 that kept much of the government closed for 21 days.
There are some interesting parallels but the two situations are also quite different in nature. The media, especially the Internet, is filled with much good information, but also a lot of speculation and downright misinformation and propaganda. Both political parties and a lot of special interests are spinning this serious challenge to our Constitution for their own benefit. We will try to use a critical eye on all sides of the issue, drawing from the Byrd Center archives and other sources to try to shed more light than fog on the problem confronting us all.
If you have not looked at my Constitution Day address, you may want to start there because the shutdown was looming as I prepared this speech. I firmly believe in the important Constitutional role of Congress in our government. And, as Senator Byrd’s career attests, Congress works best when it follows its own rules, conducts business in regular order, and passes appropriations bills to keep the government operating. Any other considerations pale in importance to this fundamental job.
I did an interview on the first day of the shutdown with Cecelia Mason of WV Public Radio, which was aired this morning.