Government shutdown could devastate Fairfax - Looming Sept. 30 funding cutoff
Government shutdown could devastate Fairfax, its neighbors
Looming Sept. 30 funding cutoff could devastate the region
When Congress reconvenes on Monday, it will have two big-ticket items to deal with. Most pressing is determining how to best deal with Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad without doing irreparable damage to our country.
Once that’s resolved, both chambers will take up a continuing resolution to fund the federal government, which is currently slated for shutdown after Sept. 30.
Some conservatives — spotlight-craving Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) among them — favor attaching a provision that will dice funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the continuing resolution.
Shorter version: These members of the GOP say either kill the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — or shut down the government trying.
A government shutdown, of course, means thousands of Virginians will see their income shrink, their savings dwindle and public services put on hold. These are some of the same Virginians who still are getting back on their feet from an 11-day furlough. They’re the same residents who, every time a government shutdown looms, must worry about whether they can pay their mortgage and put food on their tables.
“That’s the battle that’s going on in my party. There are some that are saying, ‘shut it down!’” U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Dist. 10) said last month. “ … If we shut the government down, who’s going to fund the [Veteran Affairs] Hospital? Who’s going to fund the veteran who doesn’t have a leg? Who’s going to fund the FBI who’s working on a counter-terrorism case? Who’s going to fund cancer research? … ”
Like Wolf, there are thankfully other level-headed Republicans who realize the thorough stupidity in the destroy-Obamacare-at-all-cost mindset. Given President Barack Obama would refuse to sign something that crushes his legacy achievement, a shutdown could be pinned largely on the GOP. It’s just bad politics.
But let’s forget politics. That’s secondary. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., appear oblivious to the fact that shutdowns affect people’s lives — couples’ retirements, children’s college funds and enhanced public infrastructure.
More broadly, a government shutdown would severely hamper the gradually-improving national and regional economy.
Cruz and Paul say a fight over gutting Obamacare is worth it, because the health care law will eventually devastate the country’s finances and inhibit economic growth. No one can say who is wrong and who is right. The law is still being implemented, and there are still too many moving parts to accurately judge.
The success or failure of Obamacare on a national level isn’t the issue — again, because it’s too early to grade. The issue is the selfish, uncompromising approach too many politicians have embraced. The consequences have become an afterthought.
“A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me,” President Obama said in his weekly address in late August. “But they’d just be sticking it to you.”
“Some even say that if you call their office with questions about the law, they’ll refuse to help,” Obama continued. “Call me old-fashioned — but that’s lousy constituent service. And it’s not what you deserve.”
These government shutdown conversations have become nothing short of repugnant. Too many of our neighbors are feeling like puppets, with entitled lawmakers wearing flag lapel pins pulling the strings.