During the partial shutdown of federal government, Republicans in the House of Representatives had a good idea: They passed several bills providing money for specific agencies, including some involved in helping veterans, public health and national parks.
President Barack Obama vowed to veto such bills if they reached his desk. That was not a problem; liberals in the Senate killed the measures first.
Obama and liberal lawmakers insisted on a "clean" overall bill to fund all agencies of government. In the end, they got one.
But why not deal with agencies one by one in spending legislation? Some, including those serving veterans, probably would sail through Congress.
Others, such as the Justice Department's request, probably would be held up by questions such as those lawmakers should be asking about funding for school resource officers.
Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have adopted a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about the budget. Either accept everything they want as a package deal or risk the public relations fallout of a "shutdown."
That forces conservatives, in effect, to handle the matter with guns to their heads. It should not be accepted later this year, when work on new spending bills begins.