Republicans Taking Us All Down

sorrywereclosedWho is at fault for the government shutdown? Aren’t both sides being equally intransigent?

No, this is not a symmetrical situation. Republicans are asking to change the law. A lot of laws. Democrats want to continue running the government under current law.

Republicans are trying to change the law by attaching riders to either the funding bill or the debt ceiling bill.

Republicans want to attach a rider to eliminate or water down Obamacare, but they don’t have the votes to do it.

Republicans want to attach a rider to restrict women’s reproductive rights, but they don’t have the votes to do it.

Republicans want to attach a rider to force us to make way for a tar sands pipeline for Canada, but they don’t have the votes to do it.

Republicans want to attach riders to cancel pending coal pollution regulations, gut long standing environmental laws, and accelerate offshore oil drilling, but they don’t have the votes to do it.

Republicans want to attach a rider to further bailout bankers by killing consumer protections, but they don’t have the votes to do it.

Not having the votes, they are trying to extort Democrats to join them.

What riders are the Democrats trying to attach?

None.

Democrats desperately want action to respond to climate change, but they are not trying to attach that to the government funding bill.

Democrats want gun safety, but they are not trying to attach that to the government funding bill.

sorry-closed-350Democrats want an increase to the minimum wage, but they are not trying to attach that to the government funding bill.

Democrats want to repeal the budget sequester and to stimulate the economy to create jobs, but they are not trying to attach that to the government funding bill.

It is a fundamental principle of democracy that if you don’t have the votes to change the law, the law stays the same.

What if Democrats give a little bit? What if Democrats give up a one year delay in Obamacare for six weeks of funding? I will answer those questions with questions. If Democrats give in, what happens in six weeks? Do Democrats give up another year of Obamacare to fund the next six weeks? Do Democrats give up on the Canadian pipeline to get a routine adjustment of the debt ceiling, an adjustment that was known to be needed at the time it was last adjusted? That would be putting the party that lost the election in charge. That would be minority rule. That is not Democracy.

Now Republicans want to pass the spending bills in piecemeal fashion. That, of course, is just a ruse to have them get all the pieces they want and leave out the pieces like Obamacare that they don’t want. It is just as unacceptable.

richard-mathewsNeither side has the votes needed for the priorities they want. Making decisions on those things will have to wait for another day. Democrats are not using the budget and the fragile economy as hostages to get what they want. Republicans are.

Right now, we have a great country that we need to protect. We can’t just shut it down. Republicans have decided it is OK to destroy our country, bringing it to a standstill, in order to get what they want. This is wrong.

Richard Mathews

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on October 3, 2013
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About Richard M. Mathews

Richard M. Mathews is a Regional Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and President of the North Valley Democratic Club. He is a member of the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party serving on CDP’s Legislation Committee. Richard has been honored as a 2011 LACDP Democrat of the Year and a 2008 Volunteer of the Year for the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley. He is the Senior System Architect for Radian Memory Systems in Calabasas, CA, where he designs computer components that are proudly built in the USA.