Congress should not shut down the government
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 23:09
The United States Congress: the only people who get paid to argue about committing institutional suicide. The representatives we’ve elected to exemplify our best interests in the highest level of the legislative branch are not actually voting in the best interest of their constituents, but instead are more concerned with their own political agendas.
Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, attempting to thwart resolution instead of finding ways to reach a compromise abuses the trust of the American people and leaves them as collateral damage.
We are facing a shutdown of the federal government. Eighty-thousand to 1 million federal employees will be subject to furloughs and layoffs as a result of the shutdown. Gun permits will be issued without personnel to process them, the national parks will be closed, and the men and women of the armed forces - who protect us everyday - will be issued IOU’s.
If you think you are having a case of deja vu, yes, they threatened to do the same thing in 2011. The government has shut down 17 times in our history, the longest one being a 21-day shutdown in 1995. That ended in true, bipartisan compromise between Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton.
But this one is particularly worrying because congress is uniquely ineffective this year. In nine months congress has passed 36 laws. Over the course of one month SHSU SGA has passed five resolutions. If congress were graded on its effectiveness it would be doing even worse than our student government.
To add insult to injury, House Republicans have chosen to use this catastrophic moment to blackmail the rest of Congress. It is not a secret that politicians exchange favors in order to gain support for the passage of legislation. But this should not be seen as an opportunity for any civil servants to push their own agenda.
House Republicans are hijacking the debate over resolving the government shutdown in order to attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Using filibusters to stall votes of compromise in order to undo a piece of legislation should not be taking place on the House floor…but they are. Petty political pandering should not be of main importance when considering the reality that hundreds of thousands of people can’t bring home a check to their families.
When members of Congress vote for or against a bill, they are voting on behalf of their constituents. They are not bound by party line, but by their duty to their public office and the people who chose them to act on their behalf and allow their voices to be heard.