Who's in charge? We have people out of work, parks and national monuments closed, government employees being furloughed, and Congress at odds over who is right and who is wrong when it comes to funding the government, providing Americans with health care and raising the debt limit.
John Boehner is saying that the president and the Senate are acting like it is a "damn game." Harry Reid is saying that Boehner can't take "yes" for an answer. Ted Cruz is still beating his chest and walking around like a peacock with his followers afraid to speak out against him. And President Obama is saying that he is not going to negotiate when it comes to defunding his signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. If ever there were a time to kick the bums out, this would be it.
Throughout history there have been government shutdowns - but those were over budgetary issues, not taking something away that was the central piece of the last presidential election. For the record, I am a Conservative Republican, but I don't know what has happened to the Grand Ole' Party!
Congress needs to put politics aside and fund the government and fight over Obamacare later. There are things that can and should be changed, but not at this time. If the Republicans want to regain power in the Senate and retain it in the House, they need a new strategy - the one that the Tea Partiers have brought is not it!
The Republicans need to listen to persons such as Sen. John McCain, Sen. Charles Schumer and Congressman Tom Reed. These men have worked across the aisle on every issue. Reed has promoted a bill to allow federal employees to be paid while this charade is going on, and he has said that he won't take his pay until this thing is settled. Schumer has held out an olive branch to the Republicans and specifically to Boehner only to have it rebuffed. Regardless of their political party, these men have continued to work for compromise.
Cruz, on the other hand, has angered his fellow members of Congress, but has garnered the support of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman. According to the Huffington Post, "Republicans are fuming at Senator Ted Cruz for conceding that the party's efforts to repeal Obamacare aren't going anywhere in the Senate - and leaving the House to keep fighting over it anyway." Even Grover Norquist has said that, "the shutdown is a horror story!" Republicans are saying that Speaker Boehner has lost control of his caucus and is afraid of losing his speakership if he doesn't follow Cruz's agenda. This is lunacy!
I will admit that I was wrong when I predicted that there would not be a government shutdown but I really believed the members of the House would be more concerned with the American people than their own personal agendas. It is time for cooler heads and wisdom to prevail, like those of Reed, Schumer and McCain.
According to Bloomberg News, McCain said of the shutdown, "We have to understand that the only way we are going to repeal Obamacare is when we have 67 Republican votes in the United States Senate because that's what's required to override a Presidential veto."
He went on to say, "In democracies, unfortunately sometimes the majority rules. That's why we (Republicans) are at a disadvantage in this fight that we're having. He added, "By threatening to shut down the government we are kind of circumventing the results of elections. We're doing things that frankly are not rational in the view of our constituents."
Reed has said, "I will not accept a paycheck while the government is shut down. Congress has a job to do and if Congress can't complete one of its primary responsibilities, it doesn't deserve to get a paycheck."
Schumer has repeatedly asked that Boehner put a clean continuing resolution on the floor for a vote. Schumer believes that it will pass, and other members of the Republican party are saying, (behind closed doors) that they agree with Schumer.
What are the Cruz followers afraid of?
Let the government get back to work. If the Affordable Care Act is as bad as they say it is, it will fail on its own. If it is as good as the president says it is, it will be a success that the whole country can be proud of.
So, there you have it. My rant. I want to see the elected officials doing what we sent them to Washington to do, secure the economy, create jobs, and keep us safe; not get caught up in ideological bickering. And according to recent polls, that is what the rest of America wants as well. I urge you to contact your elected officials and tell them to stop the craziness in Congress.
Have a great day - and hold onto any extra cash, you might just need it.
Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org