Democrats in Virginia are laying blame for the government shutdown at the feet of Virginia Republican Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.
Most people on Capitol Hill don't even understand the arcane rules governing Congress. But an impassioned parliamentarian inquiry by Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen has now been clicked on by nearly two million people on YouTube. He says a rule change is what's keeping the government's lights off.
“So I just want to understand Mr. Speaker, this standing rule of the House...has been altered by the House? Is that what the Speaker is saying?” “The House adopted a resolution altering.”
What House Republicans altered is a rule that historically allows any lawmaker to bring Senate passed legislation to the floor. Now it states that on the bill to fund the government, only Majority Leader Cantor or his designee can bring that bill up. Northern Virginia Democrat Jim Moran says Cantor is putting politics over the commonwealth's economy.
“His state is the hardest hit, yet he’s the only one that holds the power to open the government right now.”
Cantor's office says the rules change is to prevent minority Democrats from "hijacking" the process, while Democrats maintain they have enough support to reopen the government if Republicans would only let them bring up the Senate bill.