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The Rules change that could end gridlock in the US House

Record dysfunction in Congress: it’s NOT just the Senate, and NOT just the filibuster.

Republican extremists in the House have also been using parliamentary tricks to block legislation – including bills that had bipartisan support and would have passed if our elected Representatives were actually allowed to vote.

“The use of ‘closed rules’ has excluded most House members from full participation in the legislative process,” Rep. Louise Slaughter, ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, wrote earlier this week.

“Under a closed rule, no amendments are allowed on the House floor. As a result, House Republicans are able to pursue a politically driven agenda without allowing commonsense amendments that could achieve bipartisan compromise.  This approach has also empowered the most extreme members of the House to pursue narrow policy goals at all costs.”

Like, say, the government shutdown.

“On Sept. 30 — the eve of the government shutdown — Republicans on the House Rules Committee changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill — a bill that has the votes to pass the House and would end the shutdown, if it were given a vote.”

One man, standing in the way of a vote that impacts millions of Americans.  (Remind you of anything?  Such as: then-Senator Scott Brown single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits, back in 2010?  The Senate couldn’t vote until they added an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.)

This is what’s REALLY wrong with Congress:  our elected Representatives aren’t being allowed to vote on legislation that has bipartisan support.

GOP leadership is using the “closed rule” process to keep the House from passing legislation.  Last year was the most “closed” year in House history.  “In fact, the House GOP passed as many closed rules in a single week in October as during the entire last year of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) speakership.”

The Senate is finally reforming the filibuster.

Isn’t it time for the House to reform the “closed rule” process?

Working Families Can’t Afford Another Shutdown Style Crisis (by Richard Trumka & Mark Mackenzie)

By Mark MacKenzie and Richard Trumka

NH AFL-CIO LogoLast month, we saw Washington at its worst. Driven by the Tea Party, Republican leaders, including Senator Ayotte, recklessly shut down our government and brought our nation to the brink of default. Ignoring voices of reason from working families across New Hampshire, some of our leaders in Congress listened to shouts of “shut it down” and inflicted unnecessary damage to our economy.

The shutdown cost 120,000 jobs in the first two weeks of October and will reduce economic growth by at least .25% in the fourth quarter. Here in New Hampshire it directly impacted 4,069 federal workers and countless residents who rely on federal services.

Thankfully, reason prevailed, Republican leaders relented and Congress appointed negotiators to work on a new budget agreement.

Now it’s on to the next fight in Washington.  But before we get caught up in another news cycle where extremists convince us we shouldn’t invest in our future, it is worth noting that a congressional budget is a vision. It is a blueprint that outlines our priorities as a nation. A good budget invests in America. It doesn’t rob our government of the resources it needs to succeed. A good budget properly funds its obligations and promotes the creation of well-paying jobs. It doesn’t bargain away protections for our seniors and it isn’t balanced on the backs of working families.

As Democrats and Republicans spend this month negotiating how to avoid another government shutdown, it is important to remind Washington politicians about what working families need.

The recovery is still being dragged down by the repeated budget crises manufactured by Republicans in Congress.  Budget austerity in the Tea Party Congress has already slowed annual economic growth by 0.7%, cost 1.2 million jobs, and increased the unemployment rate by 0.8%, according to Macroeconomic Advisers.

First, Congress should repeal the sequester it created, not replace it. The sequester’s dumb across-the-board cuts have hurt everything from education to child care to medical research. Here in New Hampshire, much attention has been given to the hardworking workers at our Shipyard and National Guard members who have faced furloughs as a result of defense cuts. But sequestration is also forcing layoffs and cutbacks to other critical programs that provide job training, education, and other services.

Repealing the sequester would generate 800,000 jobs by this time next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The next budget should undo this painful damage— and not replace it with other harmful cuts.

Most importantly, policymakers in Washington must reject proposals to cut Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits.  They should avoid deficit hysteria promoted by billionaires and the 1%. Instead of terrifying our parents and grandparents with threats to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits they’ve earned, politicians should protect these vital programs that have shielded the elderly and vulnerable from poverty for generations. Our nation’s safety net should be strengthened, not weakened, because working people need more economic security, not less.

Instead, Congress should look to raise new revenue by repealing the tax subsidies that encourage corporations to send jobs overseas and ending special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  When the average CEO’s salary for the first morning on the job is the same amount the average worker makes in a year, it’s clear that the wealthiest Americans and corporations making record profits can pay their fair share.

Ending these undeserved and wasteful tax breaks would allow us to invest in our workforce and create the well-paying jobs millions so desperately need. By rebuilding our infrastructure, education, and manufacturing base, we can create good jobs with good benefits and provide relief to our struggling working and middle class. This is America, after all.  No job should trap anyone in a vicious cycle of poverty.

By focusing on helping working families instead of how to score political points, Congress can produce a budget that supports an economy that works for all. It is time for Senator Ayotte to realize that instead of shutting down progress, she needs to listen to the needs of the hardworking voters who sent her to Washington.

Richard Trumka is President of the AFL-CIO. Mark MacKenzie is President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

LTE: The Government Shutdown Cost Taxpayers $24 Billion – Why Is Senator Ayotte Not Upset About That?

Like many of my neighbors, I was relieved when the government shutdown ended. Yet unless Republicans in Congress stop throwing temper tantrums to get what they want, these fights will not be going away. They aren’t cheap: This 15-day shutdown cost our government $24 billion, and that doesn’t include the cost to New Hampshire’s economy. Navy yard contractors and Portsmouth businesses took a huge hit.

It is ridiculous that Sen. Kelly Ayotte harps on the value of fiscal responsibility but does nothing to reign in Tea Party excesses. Her Tea Party leaders nearly destroyed America’s credit rating while wasting billions of dollars. When she was sworn into office she promised to represent the interests of New Hampshire families, yet under her watch her own party has enacted policies that have cost New Hampshire families jobs and income. She has done nothing to stop them. She is, in fact, doing the opposite by putting forward so-called solutions that will perpetuate the Tea Party’s job killing agenda.

Ayotte’s priorities are backward. New Hampshire’s families should come before her Washington buddies.

Lew Henry
Gilmanton

LTE: Senator Ayotte Avoiding Her Constituents

Senator Kelly AyotteTo the editor:

I was excited to hear that Kelly Ayotte is hosting town halls to hear from her constituents about our country’s finances. Sadly, as they are being held in towns like Whitefield and Jackson, both considerable distances from me or most of her other constituents, I won’t have the opportunity to speak with her.

It is a shame because I would like to hear her plans for addressing our country’s finances. The government shutdown cost us $24 billion dollars alone and will reduce our country’s economic growth by 0.6% in the coming months. According to the economic forecasting company Macroeconomic Advisors, additional budget cuts since 2012 have cost 1.2 million jobs and increased our unemployment rate by 0.8%. Now there is talk of cutting into safety net programs like Social Security.

Here is what I would tell Senator Ayotte: your plans for addressing our country’s finances so far have hurt New Hampshire families, including my own, and they will be hurting New Hampshire seniors very soon if you don’t change course. So what is your plan for changing course?

Rick Rothwell
Manchester, NH

Kuster Leads 178 Democrats In Calling on Speaker Boehner to End Threat of Government Shutdown and Default

In letter to Speaker Boehner, Kuster and colleagues urge House Republican leadership to publicly declare they will not use threat of a government shutdown or default as leverage in budget negotiations 

Estimates show recent shutdown cost U.S. economy $24 billion, reduced 4th quarter GDP growth by 0.6 percent, and triggered higher interest rates that added $100 million to deficit in final week of shutdown alone 

Kuster to Boehner: No More Shutdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As lawmakers from both parties begin to negotiate a long-term budget agreement, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) are leading a coalition of 178 Democratic lawmakers in calling on Speaker Boehner and Republican leadership to publicly declare that they will not use the threat of another government shutdown or default as leverage in budget talks. Underscoring the economic damage caused by the recent shutdown, the group of lawmakers said that Congress must work together to pass a responsible budget agreement and take the crippling twin threats of a shutdown and default off the table for good.

“We are sending a clear message to the Republican leadership on behalf of the American people – No More Shutdowns,” said Kuster and Esty.

“The 16-day-long federal government shutdown is over and default on America’s debt has been averted, although no one is relieved that this latest crisis ever occurred.  Now, we are deeply concerned that the American people are in danger of another shutdown or threat of default early next year,” the lawmakers wrote. “The most powerful source of uncertainty to American families and businesses is the threat of a government shutdown and default on our debts. That is why we are writing to you to urge you and your leadership to publicly declare that you will not again use the threat of a government shutdown or default as leverage in the important discussions regarding long-term deficit reduction and economic growth.”

Earlier this month, Kuster was part of a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers that voted for a compromise measure that ended the shutdown, prevented a default, and gave Congress more time to work together on a balanced, long-term budget agreement. During the shutdown, Kuster wrote an op-ed calling on Speaker Boehner to let Congress vote on a simple, bipartisan bill to fully end the shutdown so that Congress could return its focus to helping create jobs and opportunity for middle class families.

 

The full text of the group’s letter is below:

October 31, 2013
Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

The 16-day-long federal government shutdown is over and default on America’s debt has been averted, although no one is relieved that this latest crisis ever occurred.  Now, we are deeply concerned that the American people are in danger of another shutdown or threat of default early next year.

The most powerful source of uncertainty to American families and businesses is the threat of a government shutdown and default on our debts. That is why we are writing to you to urge you and your leadership to publicly declare that you will not again use the threat of a government shutdown or default as leverage in the important discussions regarding long-term deficit reduction and economic growth. 

The American people depend on their elected representatives to be problem solvers and get our work done. When we fail to do our job, however, it is not the American people who should pay the price for our inability to reach critical agreements. 

The cost to our nation is too high. The absence of paychecks to hundreds of thousands of federal employees during the course of the shutdown caused real economic hardship to those employees and their families and to private businesses whose livelihoods were affected by the shutdown.

Ratings agencies and economists from across the political spectrum agree that the shutdown and threat of default took a real toll on our economy and that the possibility of repeating these crises is causing ongoing uncertainty and economic weakness. 

  • Standard & Poor’s estimated that the recent shutdown cost our economy $24 billion and reduced 4th quarter GDP growth by 0.6 percent. The shutdown triggered higher short-term interest rates, adding $100 million to the federal budget deficit in the last week of the shutdown alone.  And Standard & Poor’s said that the threat of another shutdown and possible default weighs heavily on the economy.  “The short turnaround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed,” the agency said in its October 16 report.
  • Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, “said he has downgraded his projected growth for the gross domestic product for the last quarter of this year from 2.6 percent to 2.1 percent because of the shutdown and simply the threat that Congress would not raise the debt ceiling on time,” according the Times-Tribune of Scranton, PA.
  • Joel Naroff, founder of Naroff Economic Advisors, said the “shutdown trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20% – an outcome any business would ‘consider a disaster’,” according to USA Today.
  • Gennadiy Goldberg, economist at TD Securities, said, “’The recovery is on hold for another four months,’ citing the unresolved differences in Washington over the government budget,” according to Thompson/Reuters.
  • And Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said, “This will accelerate the rate at which the Chinese renminbi becomes accepted — at least throughout Asia — as an alternative to the dollar, or Chinese government bonds become accepted as an alternative [to U.S. Treasurys],” according to National Public Radio.

This sobering economic hardship should have never been visited upon the American people. The shutdown and threat of default were unnecessary and costly. 

Congress has voted itself 90 days to reach a long-term budget agreement. We respectfully request that Congress work hard to reach an agreement sooner than that and that you and your colleagues in leadership remove the threat of another shutdown or default on America’s debt as a weapon in these talks.

We are working in good faith to meet our responsibilities and achieve the goals set out in last week’s agreement to open the government and avoid default.  All House Democrats and some Republicans voted for that agreement.  By acting now to take the threat of another shutdown or default off the table you can provide certainty and economic relief that American families and privates businesses desperately need.

Unions Praise The End Of The Government Shutdown That Should Never Have Happened.

For the last two weeks federal workers across the country have been waiting for Congress to take action and reopen the government.  While the government shutdown is over, union leaders appear guarded.  They are all happy to see the end of the Government shutdown and make a plea to never let this happen again.

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the 670,000 federal employees represented by AFGE, I am thrilled that a deal was reached to put our members back to work and restore the services American taxpayers count on. But make no mistake about it, this is not a happy day for federal employees. The Senate deal is simply a brief reprieve from the suffering federal employees and their families have endured for the past sixteen days. We cannot accept another government shutdown in just a few short weeks; federal workers and the public they serve have suffered enough….”

“….I am glad that lawmakers were able to come together to end this crisis without giving in to a radical group of hostage takers. Particular credit goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who exhibited extraordinary leadership during this trying time and held firm to his convictions.  But those who perpetrated this inexcusable catastrophe on the American people should be turned out of office in 2014.

“In the coming weeks AFGE will fight all attempts to cut federal pay, retirement, or health care as Congress hashes out FY 14 spending levels. Federal employees are nobody’s bargaining chip. Our message to lawmakers is clear: No more cuts, no more furloughs, no more sacrifices on the backs of hardworking Americans. We will also fight to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits from any reductions, including cuts from the so-called chained CPI.”

AFSCME President Lee Saunders stated:

“For two weeks, Republican congressional leaders were derelict in their duty. They allowed a fringe element in their party – one vastly out of step with American values and priorities — to shut our government down and bring the country to the brink of defaulting on its financial obligations. Their actions demonstrated a callous disregard for this nation’s citizens, businesses and the economy.

The agreement reached is by no means perfect because it continues the Draconian cuts in public services until the next deadline in January. But after 16 days, this shutdown ordeal has come to an end. It should never happen again. The hardworking women and men of this country deserve better.” Via Facebook

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO released a statement after the debt deal was announced.

Finally — after more than two weeks of government shutdown, with hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and billions of dollars in avoidable losses — Republican leaders have stood down.  While it is good news that we have avoided a crisis, we all know that it should never have happened.  No party or faction inside a party should hold our economy hostage to extract political gains.   We commend President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and the leadership of the Democratic party for standing firm and resisting extortion….

“….We desperately need to create an economy that works for all.  The across the board sequester cuts hamper that effort and must be repealed.  We need to focus on big ideas and the future – rather than getting bogged down in petty political battles.

Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – issued the following statement:

“Thousands of LIUNA workers who have been furloughed due to the Republican government shutdown can breathe a brief sigh of relief. But the mere functioning of our democracy won’t be enough to avoid the economic brinksmanship we’ve witnessed over the past several weeks from those on the Tea Party fringe. Rebuilding America’s future will take more leaders with the moral courage to rebuild American bipartisanship. The partisan circus has to end because our tax dollars pay for both Republicans and Democrats to do their job of passing legislation that invests in our crumbling roads, bridges and waterways and reforms our broken immigration system, so that every worker has a chance to realize the American Dream.”

Even Congressional members chastised the GOP in holding the country hostage and forcing the government shutdown.  The shutdown cost taxpayers billions, all for nothing.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter stated:

“The shutdown cost our economy $24 billion, and it costs thousands of Americans access to vital government services. We cannot continue to govern by crisis. It hurts small businesses, working families, and America’s economic standing in the world.

“Going forward, Congress must work out a long-term budget to reduce the deficit, invest in job creation, and strengthen the middle class. I am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail in that debate and that our country will benefit from more common sense.”

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan echoed Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s sentiments.

“While I am pleased that Congress finally reached an agreement to end the federal government shutdown and avert a catastrophic default, this entire episode was reckless and unnecessary, and it caused real harm to New Hampshire’s families and economy. 

“With today’s agreement, there are new deadlines in place, but the days of Washington operating by showdown must end. The uncertainty caused by each successive confrontation hurts our economy and puts senseless strain on families.”

Even Senator Ayotte (R-NH) agrees that we need to stop jumping from crisis to crisis. 

Americans are rightfully tired and frustrated, and we owe it to them to stop governing by crisis and start working together to solve problems.”
(From the Union Leader)

This debit ceiling deal means the total economic collapse was avoided.  The deal also means that federal workers will return to work immediately and will receive back pay.  There is also another little piece of good news for federal workers.

Federal workers will received a “1 percent pay raise beginning Jan. 1.  It would be the first across-the-board pay raise for feds since 2010. ”

Where do we go from here? Do we need to start a new countdown clock till this continuing resolution expires in January and we hit the debt ceiling again in February?  This type of legislating from crisis to crisis must end.  This is one of the reasons why our national economy is still struggling to recover.  Every time things start moving forward, up pops another crisis.

The GOP is in for a rude awakening in 2014 if they do not start working with Democrats in the House and Senate.  The American people are pissed off at Congress at a whole but most of the blame falls squarely on the Republican leadership in the House.

 

Only 89 Days (or less) till the next crisis.

Senator Shaheen Reiterates Call To Reopen The Government

Image from Senator Shaheen's Website

Image from Senator Shaheen’s Website

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted The Provident Bank President Chuck Withee this afternoon at a Small Business Committee hearing where she also renewed her call for a bipartisan solution to end the government shutdown.  At the hearing Shaheen cited the severe consequences the shutdown is having on the economy and Withee specifically noted how lending has stalled due to the shutdown which has caused uncertainty and hurt New Hampshire small businesses as a result.  The hearing provided a forum for multiple small business owners to discuss the government shutdown’s impact on their businesses.

“The brinkmanship in Washington is hurting New Hampshire businesses and jobs and it needs to end,” Shaheen said. “I share the frustration and worry about the very real consequences on small businesses and families of this unnecessary shutdown.

“Holding jobs, the economy and critical services hostage to score political points is irresponsible,” Shaheen added. “We need to work together to do what’s right for our country and get our government running again.”

The Small Business Committee hearing is the second official meeting this year focused on the impact of Congressional impasses on small businesses. Earlier this year, the Committee held a roundtable on the impacts of the indiscriminate budget cuts which Shaheen voted to replace in a responsible Senate Budget Resolution in March. In New Hampshire small businesses make up 96 percent of the state’s employers and nationally, small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. The shutdown has put a stop on critical sources of small business credit, services and economic certainty.

“Small businesses across New Hampshire are suffering for every day the government is shut down,” said Withee, who testified at the Small Business Committee hearing. “The impact is real – small businesses don’t have the certainty they need to function and that hurts every aspect of our economy.  Each day Congress doesn’t reopen the government only makes our situation worse.”

Withee also noted that The Provident Bank, which has offices in Southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts, has had twelve small business loans for a total of $2.7 million stall because of the shutdown, resulting in uncertainty for business owners.

Shaheen has been part of a bipartisan effort to end the obstructionism that has paralyzed Congress and has repeatedly urged for bipartisan cooperation to reopen the government.  Shaheen has also advocated for Congress to reform its broken budget process and convert it to a two-year biennial budget cycle. She joined Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to introduce legislation  to convert the annual spending process to a two-year budget cycle, which the Senate adopted as an amendment to its budget resolution passed in March.

Does The Government Shutdown Mean “The End of the World”? The Radical Religious Right Thinks So

The End of the World Is Nigh

Ok, so maybe the government shutdown IS “the end of the world.”  At least as far as some Tea Party leaders are concerned.

Yes, seriously.  No, this is not a joke.

This eye-opening analysis comes from Rev. Morgan Guyton, a pastor in Louisiana:

I wanted to do some research into the theological roots of Senator Ted Cruz, the standard-bearer of the Tea Party Republicans behind the shutdown… It turns out that Ted’s father, Rafael Cruz, is a pastor with Texas charismatic ministry Purifying Fire International who has been campaigning against Obamacare the last several months. He has a distinct theological vision for what America is supposed to look like: Christian dominionism.

Here’s Christian Zionist charismatic pastor Larry Huch, a year ago, when he was introducing Sen. Cruz’s father as a guest preacher at Huch’s “New Beginnings” megachurch:

But here’s the exciting thing… The rabbinical teaching is… that in a few weeks begins that year 2012 and that this will begin what we call the end-time transfer of wealth.  …It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers. And the ones that say here I am Lord, you can trust me, we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the messiah.

Here’s how the Rev. Guyton distills the current state of Cruz’s theology:

The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian ‘kings’ who will accomplish the ‘end time transfer of wealth.’ Then ‘God’s bankers’ will usher in the ‘coming of the messiah.’ The government is being shut down so that God’s bankers can bring Jesus back.

—–

OK, take a minute to breathe here.  Remember that most Christians (including, particularly, Rev. Guyton) don’t believe that bankers can bring Jesus back.  (Most Christians take a very different message from the Bible.  Remember my post “The Republicans Make an Offer on Sequestration”?)

But it’s a very enlightening perspective on the current federal crisis.

—–

Prepared for even more enlightenment?  Read Rev. Guyton’s post on “The God of No Compromise and the Government Shutdown.”

[For evangelicals], the word ‘compromise’ has always been a bad word. It means to allow non-Christian values and influences to corrupt your devotion to Biblical truth.  … a stormtrooper evangelical Republican must categorically reject any idea that is generated by a Democrat because accepting it would amount to a compromise of worldview.

This need to “categorically reject” Democratic ideas helps explain why the right-wing Heritage Foundation so adamantly opposes Obamacare.  If you’re a policy geek, you might remember that the Heritage Foundation actually proposed the individual mandate, back in 1989.  But now that’s a Democratic policy… Sen. Cruz believes it’s a reason to shut down the government.

It also helps explain why – no matter how hard President Obama may try to “compromise” – his attempts to “meet in the middle” are always going to be rejected.  Read “Translating from TeaPartyese: What ‘negotiate’ really means.”

National Air Traffic Controllers Association Host Rally To End The Shutdown

Image From NATCA

Image From NATCA

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association  hosted a rally calling on lawmakers to end the government shutdown immediately. Gathering on Capitol Hill, NATCA’s leaders, alongside representatives from across the aviation community, made clear that it is not business as usual for the aviation system during this government shutdown.

“There are grave repercussions as a result of the shutdown on all aspects of the system,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “There are real people suffering real consequences as a result of this shutdown. The only way to restore the aviation system to full staffing and speed is to end it right away. This is an increasingly difficult situation that will only worsen as it drags on. The shutdown must be stopped immediately.”

The furlough of thousands of aviation safety professionals is eliminating critical layers of redundancy and safety that keep the system operating safely and efficiently. The shutdown has also interrupted the flow of hiring, training and innovation.

Manufacturing and modernization efforts have been stopped and certification processes that are critical for general aviation to thrive have been halted. Even worse, the furloughs of safety inspectors and accident investigators may put the United States in default of its treaty obligations under the Chicago Convention and the obligations of member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“Imagine if no citizen of the United States could buy or sell a car, purchase or re-finance a home, or if the sale of any other critical goods came to a complete and grinding halt,” said Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). “That’s what’s basically happened in business aviation – because the industry is more regulated than other industries, the shutdown has had a far more dire impact on business aviation than for other industries. As just one example of this reality, the government shutdown has led to the closure of the FAA Aircraft Registry, and as a result, aircraft cannot be purchased, sold, imported, exported, and in some cases, flown. The many small and mid-sized companies that rely on the Registry to be open and accessible are hurting, and the shutdown is hurting the industry in a host of other ways as well. Simply put, until government leaders can get the FAA reopened, an essential American industry remains on an indefinite layover.”

“Under the government shutdown, aircraft sales are unable to proceed and aircraft registrations are expiring daily without the opportunity for renewal, medical and pilot certificate applications are languishing, knowledge testing is shut down, and infrastructure is not being maintained,” said Mark Baker, President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).  “AOPA calls on our elected leaders to preserve the integrity of the safest air transportation system in the world and to protect our economy by immediately restoring all aviation-related activities.”

“Every day that Congress allows this shutdown to remain in place is putting the safety and efficiency of the aviation system at risk,” said Mike Perrone, President of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS). “This is unacceptable. The system is broken. It must be fixed. Congress may not be able to do its job, but that doesn’t mean we should be prevented from doing ours. I join with you today to tell Congress to end the shutdown NOW so we can all go back to work. We are all essential.”

“Airports and our aviation system have bent under the continuous strain of repeated budget crises, and we’re on the verge of breaking,” said Todd Hauptli, President of GOV for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “It’s time to end the current impasse and the ongoing threat caused by sequestration so that airports and our industry partners can get back to the business of operating and building the world-class aviation system our country deserves.”

“So far, there isn’t any evidence of negative impacts on the safety of U.S. aviation. However, the longer the government remains shutdown and the longer key safety staff are being prevented from doing their important work, the more we risk creating a situation where safety could be threatened,” said Capt. Sean Cassidy, First Vice President of the Airline Pilots Association Int’l. (ALPA). “Simply put, the safety of our skies is on borrowed time. The shutdown needs to end and we need to bring everyone back to work for the sake—and safety—of our crews, passengers, cargo, and the aviation industry as a whole.”

“General aviation aircraft manufacturers are already feeling significant and harmful effects from the shutdown,” said Jens Hennig, Vice President of Operations for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “With the FAA Aircraft Registry office closed, more than 150 newly manufactured aircraft worth more than $1.9 billion will be delayed by mid-October. Our message to the nation’s political leaders is clear: End the shutdown now.”

“The impact of the government shutdown, especially the shuttering of the Federal Aviation Administration, is having negative consequences for small aviation businesses across the country,” said Tom Hendricks, President and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).  “Every sector from experimental, general, business and commercial aviation need to be as healthy as possible in order to truly unleash economic prosperity for the entire nation.”

“Our leaders need to understand that entire local economies are built around national parks and historic sites — and unlike federal workers, there is no mechanism for those small businesses and their employees to get back pay once the shutdown is over,” said Jonathan Grella, senior vice president for public affairs at the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). “We’re hearing stories of real financial pain from all over the country, and we’ve been posting them on USTravel.org in the hope of encouraging policymakers to move swiftly to end this.”

(NATCA posted images from the rally on their Facebook page here)

“Negotiate” means talking about ALL options

Golly.  The GOP still hasn’t figured out what’s driving the federal debt?  Let’s try… lack of revenues.

Federal revenues, as a percentage of the country’s economy, are at the lowest point since Harry Truman was President.  (And that was before Congress enacted Medicare, and added Medicare payroll taxes to the federal revenue mix.)

Corporate taxes, in particular, are at record-low levels.  (Just look at the olive-green areas on this graph.)

Federal Revenue Sources as percentage of GDP

The GOP insists on “concessions” from President Obama, in exchange for not driving America’s economy totally off the cliff.

They are insisting on cuts to Social Security and Medicare before they will consider acting on the debt limit.  “My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up,” according to House Speaker John Boehner.

But will they discuss restoring revenues, as a way of cutting the deficit?  Not a chance, the GOP says.

Wow.

Is Speaker Boehner really contemplating a “conversation”?  (Or is he just expecting the Democrats to surrender?)

————

See the data I used in my graph here.

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