Time Out!

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Politics has become a childish blame game. Right now led by Republicans pointing fingers at everyone but yourselves, in the US Congress. So We The People want YOU to go to the Time Out corner.

My great-grandmother Georgiana used to recite us portions of Edgar Guest’s poem “Myself”.

I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I’ve done.

Republicans what are you doing for the country, workers and the economy? Can you look yourself in the eye and say you are doing all you can for the American people.   Go to Time Out until you get through this temper tantrum.

Your tantrum hurts America. You have cut wages to federal workers and defeated gun reform with valid mental health guidelines in it.  Now you fight a budget and debt ceiling deal.

You need to stop whining and get Americans working.  We need you to pass a Jobs Bill to get millions of Americans working again.

Stop whining and attacking President Obama.  Senator McConnell you smirked years ago saying your number one priority is making sure the President wasn’t reelected.  Well he was reelected, you lost, move on.

Your whining, pettiness and bitterness hurt the country.  Going after one person while holding millions of Americans hostage in an attempt to do what?

That is the question, What is your end game?  It isn’t ObamaCare.  That’s the smoke screen.  Is it to expose the Cruz/Tea Party element to get moderate, traditional Republicans into office?  There are better ways to do that.

Is it to destroy the President’s legacy?  That’s not good for America?

As elected officials, leaders of your political party, you are failing the American people.  That’s not good for America. You have focused on repealing laws rather than offering ideas to strengthen them.   You haven’t introduced or passed anything to promote strengthening our economy. That’s not good for America.

Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, where is the legislation that puts Republicans at the forefront of pulling the poor from the depths of poverty?  Moves the middle class into the upper middle class?  Makes small businesses stronger and lowers the unemployment rate?

Your attention is so focused on defeating Obama, you forgot to position the Party to win in 2014 and 2016.  Instead you pulled the victim card.  You scream, lie and cheat the American people.  Crying foul and painting yourself as the victim.

It is sickening to watch grown men cry foul, sounding like crybabies.  So you go to “Time Out.”

Sit and reflect on what you are doing that is hurting the country.  You can’t come out until you tell us how you are going to help Americans get back to work.

Stop whining!  American families need to know when this #governmentshutdown will stop.  We need you working for the American people not against them working.

As we wait and you sit in the Time Out corner, I leave you with this portion of Guest’s poem.  Wondering at the end of the day at the setting sun, one day will you hate yourself for the things you have done.

 I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to think as I come and go
That I’m for bluster and bluff and empty show.

Republicans YOU Are To Blame! Get Over It

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As a Republican, I say, YOU are too blame! Get over it and stop keeping the nation from moving FORWARD! I am disenchanted with the words coming from the Party. To hold American salaries hostage is immoral. To shut down the government and hold the debt ceiling as a negotiation ploy is immoral. To blame the President for wanting 100% of the Affordable Care Act is immoral. To keep 40,000,000 Americans from having affordable access to healthcare is immoral!!

I agree with you on some things. One is we have too many entitlement programs. Like the ones that provide billions in corporate tax breaks. And the ones that provide subsidies to oil companies and farmers.

What I believe and what others in the Party used to believe is, we have a moral obligation to help all those in need. That means we are obligated to help the every day working American who was affected during The Great Recession. YOU use terms like, we need to do this and that to cut programs that help the poor and disadvantaged. Is that American exceptionalism?

I don’t know what your brand of American exceptionalism is? Is it American exceptionalism to take food out of the mouths of hungry children by cutting food lunch programs and SNAP. Is it American exceptionalism to cut funding for Meals on Wheels programs that feed the elderly who are stuck in their homes?

Is it American exceptionalism to forget more than 8,000,000 Americans who lost their homes during the Great Recession? The unemployment rate increased dramatically! Is it exceptionalism when you don’t vote or pass a Jobs Bill?

It was exceptional that our nation saved the auto, banking and housing industries. Further that it also bailed out Wall Street after its irresponsible reckless behavior came close to crippling ours and the global economy.

In the process, everyday working Americans lost their jobs. Five years later, many are still trying to get back on their feet! Yet you want to cut funding to programs that are helping them stay at the water line, not even afloat?

You want to cut funding to small children, small businesses and many others who have served this nation. You want to take the food out of their mouths, the roof from over their heads? Is this your brand of American exceptionalism?

This argument about healthcare is sad! It shouldn’t be part of the discussion. The Individual Mandate that YOU want to extend for a year, is a smoke screen!! In order for the ACA to work the uninsured must be on the insurance roll! But YOU wont say that YOU are in bed with the insurance companies. This is deeper than wanting to extend the mandate. Say what it is! It is about fighting progress.

The Party lost its way a long time ago. I hope this self inflicted implosion makes the Party refocus and move it to the center. If it doesn’t, it will be the minority party, not just in the Senate or in the House of Reps, but also in the Presidency.

Your action is a play from yesterday, that no longer works!! YOU see, when President Obama was elected, CHANGE happened. Those who voted for the President did it again in 2012. They reaffirmed what many in this nation want to deny. We the People, moved FORWARD! It is time for YOU, the Republican Party to do the same, or be left further BEHIND!

Costs to Prepare for A #GovernmentShutdown

Today, I was amazed, flabbergasted, surprised, and amused when in a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid  apologized to House Speaker John Boehner for hurting his feelings. He said Boehner said that’s the reason we have a government shutdown.

This afternoon, shots fired at the Capitol.  Is this frustration from a disgruntled federal employee?  Or someone directly or indirectly impacted from the shutdown of government services.  In the meantime, we wait with hopes that no one was injured or killed.  

We also watch as the Congress debates and we see no Progress in sight.  The richest nation in the world doesn’t have an approved budget to pay 800,000 workers or provide services to those in need.  Each week the government is closed the economy directly loses 1billion dollars that would go toward paying these employees.  Some economists estimate that can translate upwards of 10 times  when businesses are impacted. 

Today, DC streets are empty, highways from the suburbs during rush hour are like Sunday morning.   But what was the cost associated in the days leading up to October 1, 2013.  On that day, federal employees reported for four hours of work to change voicemail messages, lock up files and shutdown computers and printers. 

One federal employee working for an agency directly overseeing government agencies shutdown activities leading up to the shutdown shared some of the work they were involved in during the weeks leading up to the shutdown. 

They attended:

  • Weekly meetings with Politicals and General Counsel preparing for government-wide calls with agencies and various Councils (CFO, CAO, CIO, CHCOC, PMC), labor unions, and state government offices.  
  • Some Councils required separate calls (for various reasons– e.g., to review IT-specific policies with agency CIO shops, etc.) which required scheduling pre-meetings and meetings to discuss guidance, identify any anomalies prior to the call (researching regulations and policies for clarification), responding to emails, calls from leadership prior to the calls– then the gov-wide conference calls themselves.

There was daily work with teams across the agency to prepare and review draft guidance and FAQs for agency – budget, procurement, human resources, and IT shops.

  • Updating the agency’s internal guidance in draft, posting online.
  • Reviewing all agency contingency plans (before they were allowed to post on their intra/internets). Coordinating the primary agency conference calls and town hall with the Director.

When adding up the number of meetings, conference calls (some operator assisted — no telling how much that contract costs), government-wide calls with up to 200 Feds, plus all the salaries (of SES, political appointees, GS employees, etc.), staff staying up late to post shutdown guidance (and I’m talking past midnight), not to mention our daily work which we had to set aside, the costs are high.

So as the days led up to the #GovernmentShutdown it is hard to assess the cost associated with the shutdown.

  • We would have look at ongoing projects that were tabled and pushed aside.
  • The cost of shutting these projects down, in some cases flying people home.
  • And the cost of getting them going again and flying people back to the places they were.

We may never know the exact cost to shut the government down. We do know that it added work, hours and more importantly did nothing to advance the mission of our government agencies.

Congress continues debating the trivial matters of getting government restarted based on ideological differences.

So Now We Wait…..

How We Got Here: The Path to America’s 2013 Government Shutdown

The government is shutdown, and the world is watching how America treats its citizens in a battle of wills.  As Ezra Klein said, before the clock struck midnight starting the shutdown, “This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it. That’s why the Republican Party might shut down the government and default on the debt.”

Below is info on the path to the shutdown.  Thank you to the budget expert with experience at the White House Budget Office and U.S. Senate for sharing information used below.

Here is what happened.

  • House and Senate have been fighting about the overall spending levels for months.
  • The Republican controlled House wanted the 2014 budget level at $967 billion for discretionary spending.
  • The Democratic controlled Senate wanted the level at $1,058 billion (to include a plan that replaces sequestration responsibly).
  • Democrats agreed to a level at $986 billion, which is the level of the continuing resolution (CR) that was under debate.
  • Democrats took the compromise even though it is below the desired level, thinking they would have a clean CR without any crazy ideological riders.

Fast forward to this past week.

  • The House passed a CR with a provision defunding the Affordable Care Act – (A law passed four years ago and a law tested by an election and the Supreme Court.)
  • The Senate voted against the CR
  • Senator Ted Cruz held his personal version of a filibuster.
  • The Senate voted, stripping out the ideological riders the House put in and sent a clean CR back to the House.
  • The House did not take up the Senate bill.
  • The House in turn attached more riders that are unacceptable to Senate Democrats.
  • The Senate voted and tabled those amendments, sending a third clean bill back to the House.
  • After more back-and-forth, the House asked to appoint conferees to work out an agreement and negotiate.
  • Leading up to this shutdown for six months, the Senate asked 18 times to appoint conferees for a budget conference.  Every time Republicans objected.
  • Not once has the House voted on a clean CR – which the Senate sent to the House.  Meanwhile, the Senate along with the President made it clear that anything other than a clean CR would not pass the Senate and if it was it would be vetoed by the President.

When the House declined to vote on a clean CR passed by the Senate before midnight Tuesday, the fiscal year ended.  Appropriations lapsed and the government shut down.

So now we wait!

“Showdown to A Government Shutdown”

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Today, minutes wind down on the “showdown to a government shutdown.” The clock ticks as elected officials in Washington guide us toward a rock that could sink the ship.

People like Ted Cruz from the Tea Party took the helm last week to bring attention to defunding ObamaCare. Cruz reminded me of a Harry Belafonte speech I heard a few years ago. In it he said, “Don’t worry about the Tea Party, because you know what happens when you put a tea bag in water?…It sinks!”

The Tea Party is sinking the ship. What many don’t accept is that ObamaCare and raising the country’s credit limit called the debt ceiling is good for Americans and the world economy.

To call ObamaCare immoral is wrong. To lead the country to a shutdown or a to default on the debt ceiling is as immoral as purposely guiding a ship toward a dangerous rock. A ship that responsible elected officials keep trying to guide to smooth waters that will allow the country to strengthen the economy.

Congress has allowed a budget sequester to go too long. Government workers who have been furloughed several days a month, now may not receive any pay at all. If the shutdown occurs what is immoral is that they also may not receive back pay after it ends.

What is immoral is, if we have a shutdown, 800,000 Americans will not receive a paycheck. It means 1.3 million servicemen and women and thousands of essential government workers will work but will not receive a paycheck until the shutdown ends.

As the minutes tick toward midnight, Republicans and Tea Party Republicans have the future of the American people in their hands.

So now we wait!