The creative-but-dumb Government Shutdown Prevention Act

THE CREATIVE-BUT-DUMB GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN PREVENTION ACT…. The Government Shutdown Prevention Act would be more amusing if it weren’t quite so ridiculous.

House Republicans announced Wednesday that they would take up a largely symbolic bill this week that would make their long-term spending plan law if the Senate fails to act on a similar measure.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said at a press conference that Republicans would consider the Government Shutdown Prevention Act on Friday. The bill would make H.R. 1 law if the Senate fails to pass a measure “before April 6” to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. H.R. 1, which passed the House but has gone nowhere in the Senate, would fund the government through the end of September and seeks to cut $61 billion in spending.

“We’re serious,” the perpetually confused House Majority Leader told reporters today. He was soon followed by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said this little stunt “shows we are serious.”

Um, no. If Republicans were “serious,” they’d be working on a compromise, not a silly, symbolic stunt masquerading as real work. This isn’t “serious,” it’s the opposite of “serious.”

Consider the larger picture here. The House passed a radical spending bill, which the vast majority of Americans oppose. The Senate brought the measure to the floor, held up-or-down vote, and defeated it. Thus the need for a compromise.

Today, House GOP leaders unveiled this new gimmick, which qualifies as creative, in a painfully absurd sort of way. After voting for spending cuts that have already been defeated, the new measure would say the already-failed budget plan would automatically become “the law of the land” — even without Senate approval or the president’s signature — just because House Republicans would say so.

Cantor, who apparently never saw “Schoolhouse Rock,” thinks is a great, “serious” idea that could prevent a shutdown next week.

It’s as if the country elected children — slow, dimwitted, ill-behaved children — to run the U.S. House of Representatives.

Keep in mind, GOP leaders could be spending time right now on finding a solution to the budget mess. Instead, they’re spending time on a gimmick that makes it look like they’re finding a solution to the budget mess.

They must seriously believe Americans are fools.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.