Do The Right Thing!

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DC streets are empty as the #GovernmentShutdown enters Week 2.  If you ever saw the movie S.W.A.T., you may remember Samuel L. Jackson saying,”Sometimes doing the right thing, ain’t doing the right thing.” With that in mind, what if federal employees after the shutdown ends refused for days to go back to work? Would elected officials think two or three times before ever considering shutting government down again?

The President and the Democrats are right to stand firm on their position. What I offer here is a personal assessment. That is that Democrats should call out Republicans and in particular Speaker John Boehner. They should paint Republicans refusing to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to get the government running, as “unpatriotic” and “un-American.”

Instead of going through the litany of accusations, Dems should say over and over, that keeping the government closed, weakens our national security. That it morally fails to protect poor children. That shutting down the government impacts good American families and is un-American.

This would raise the volume in the Republican echo chamber. We would hear people like Senator Rand Paul crying with statements like this one he made yesterday, on Meet the Press.  “President Obama is unwilling to negotiate.  He wants 100% of ObamaCare. He doesn’t want to give up on anything. It is his way or the highway.”

Senator Paul stop whining, stop crying! You’re as responsible as anyone for this #governmentshutdown. You want more than 100% of a number of things. That isn’t negotiation. You are holding the American economy, American worker and country hostage.

Dems should ask Senator Paul, how keeping health care to 40 million uninsured Americans is unpatriotic. How pushing reforms for preventive care that positively impacts all Americans is un-American.

Dems should ask questions like Vanessa Guthrie did hosting Meet the Press yesterday to Senator Paul, “if you think the Dems want to keep the government shutdown whey would you fall into their trap?”  Paul’s response was weak, because there isn’t a good answer.  Just like there isn’t a good answer supporting keeping the #governmentshutdown.

FEMA employees were called in over the weekend because of a storm hitting the east coast.  After the danger subsides they will be furloughed again. These are additional and unnecessary costs that impact the economy?

Employees at FEMA are an example of how good American people strengthen not weaken our nation. The budget sequester and the shutdown should never have happened. Both weaken our economy, strain American families directly and indirectly.  Where is the patriotism in this? How does it promote American values.

That is why Speaker Boehner, you can demonstrate your patriotism by putting a clean CR to a vote. Even if it means losing your position as Speaker of the House.  Sometimes doing the right thing ain’t doing the right thing. Because doing the right thing for one or some, isn’t the doing the right thing for all.

Have the courage! Do the right thing!  Call for a vote and let Congress vote it’s conscious. Hold a vote on the debt ceiling and stop tying this to a law that’s already been passed. Do the right thing!

Frederick Douglass a Republican said “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, it never will.  Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Speaker Boehner you are losing power. The course you are on, will lead to losses now and in 2014.

You can no longer secure power protecting just a few.  The right thing to do, is the right for the country. There is nothing to negotiate Mr. Speaker. Let none of us forget that “arguing with a fool, only means there are two.” Stop arguing with the Tea Party. Stop letting this small faction of the Party try to govern the country. Mr. Speaker, “Do the right thing!” for America.

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!