Are we really going to do this again?
In 2013, we as a country endured the 16 day government shutdown that cost taxpayers $24 billion dollars. Tea Party extremists led by Senator Ted Cruz shutdown the government in a feeble attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“No party or faction inside a party should hold our economy hostage to extract political gains,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO after the conclusion of the 2013 shutdown.
“Federal employees are nobody’s bargaining chip,” said J. David Cox Sr, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees after the 2013 shutdown concluded.
Yet here we are again, less than a week away from yet another government shutdown. Republicans and Tea Partier’s alike are threatening to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides life saving health screenings and treatment for millions of women across the country.
“With less than two weeks until a possible government shutdown, working families in New Hampshire and across the country just don’t have time for more partisan games and political theater,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.
“To shut down the government for any reason is irresponsible and reckless,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen at a recent event supporting Planned Parenthood. “It is simply reprehensible. We should not, we cannot let this happen.”
Even my Republican Senator, Kelly Ayotte, is calling for an end to this political grandstanding and threats of shutting down the government.
“The game Congress is playing right now is a dangerous game of chicken. We already know right now what it will take to keep the government open – a clean funding bill. We should not be wasting time on political stunt votes that will only make a shutdown more likely…” said Ayotte. “With that in mind, I cannot in good conscience support a political messaging bill that would risk a costly, harmful shutdown when there is no strategy for success. It’s time to quit the political games on both sides of the aisle. We know what we need to do to keep the government running – so let’s take that vote right now instead of playing political games while the clock ticks down.”
We have to take Senator Ayotte’s statements with a large grain of salt because she has already voted to defund Planned Parenthood and twice voted to shut down the government.
“Since going to Washington, Ayotte has not only voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, but she’s also already voted to shut down the government twice. WGBH’s David S. Bernstein also points out that in 2013, it was only after “taking blame” from independents that Ayotte tried to “publicly position herself” against Ted Cruz’s antics,” wrote the New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Lizzy Price.
We must move out of this bi-annual shutdown cycle that we are currently stuck in.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, who were very vocal during the last shutdown, are condemning politicians for political grandstanding again.
Shutting down the government would have detrimental effects on the National Airspace System (NAS) that “contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the U.S. gross domestic product and the NAS supports more than 12 million American jobs.” Aside from calling for an end to threat of government shutdowns every two years, they are calling for a new, stable source of funding from the government that would remove the NAS from the effects of partisan budgetary bickering.
“We’ve been asking Congress to establish a stable funding mechanism for the NAS since the last shutdown ended,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “Yet two years later, we find ourselves in the same situation, where the efficiency of the safest airspace system in the world could be negatively affected due to disagreement over an issue unrelated to aviation. The looming shutdown is further evidence that stable, predictable funding is an essential next step for Congress.”
We need our elected leaders to work together to resolve their differences and put partisan issues aside to keep the government open. The health and safety of millions of Americans are at risk over this political grandstanding by Republicans in Washington.