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Shutdown and Political Responsibility

Then, let’s look at the childish temper tantrum displayed by the the Administration with respect to the barriers placed around the World War II Monument.

First, some salient facts need to be reviewed.  The WWII Monument is a facility that is open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours per day with no required on-site presence of government employee to control admission.  Yes, there are government expenses incurred for trash collection and lawn care.  So, under the “shutdown” those to not get accomplished.

However, let’s look close at the news reports concerning the barricades places to deter WWII Veterans from visiting the Monument.  According to news reports, on Day 1 of the “shutdown”, simple action of stringing plastic tape was done.  That proved useless and Day 2 resulted in substantial barricade fences being brought in to deter access to the open-air Monument.

Someone had to incur expense to lease/rent/install the barricades.  After all, if the government was “shutdown” and employees furloughed, who provided the labor to acquire and install the barricades?

Perhaps a review of existing law is in order.  Consider, a 19th-century law that could get Government officials fired, penalized or even imprisoned if they make the wrong choices while the government is shut down.
The law is the Antideficiency Act, passed by Congress in 1870 (and amended several times), which prohibits the government from incurring any monetary obligation for which the Congress has not appropriated funds.

In shutting down the government, most memos cite the law as the reason. The Government Accountability Office says employees who violate the Antideficiency Act may be subject to disciplinary action, suspension and even "fines, imprisonment, or both."

In a memo to his department employees, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew cited the law as the reason for reduced staffing.

"For the duration of this impasse, as required by the Antideficiency Act and directed by OMB, the Department will be required to operate with only the minimal staffing level necessary to execute only certain legally exempted activities," Lew wrote.

The only exemptions to the shutdown concern "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property," according to government documents. That has meant airports and the Postal Service are open, Social Security checks get paid and federal prisons and courts will operate as normal as do most national security functions including the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. But national parks and museums are closed along with big parts of the departments of Education and Commerce

Congress passed the law as part of a struggle-dating back to the nation's founding-for control over the power of the purse. Some presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, would incur obligations for which Congress had to appropriate funds after the fact.

So, the running score is: Democrats - 0, Republicans - 2

Along this vein, there are numerous contract/concession run campgrounds and facilities that do not receive appropriated funds to remain open.  These facilities actually return a profit to the U.S. Treasury.
Interestingly, these concession operators were informed that as in past “shutdowns” as they did not receive appropriated funds and they were outside the legislated restrictions of the Antideficiency Act and could remain open.

That lasted barely 48 hours before they received notice that “higher” ruling required the concession run facilities to cease operations.  Note, they do not receive appropriated funds nor to they require government employee oversight.

So, the running score is: Democrats - 0, Republicans - 3

While we are on the subject of the Antideficiency Act, let’s take a look at the infamous Affordable Care Act.  The

U.S. Government was established a system of check and balances to prohibit any one branch from assuming total control.

The Affordable Care Act is an interesting study in how the balance of powers and the concept of government “by the people, for the people, and of the people” has been flaunted.

When the ACA was passed, it was a major piece of legislation that was NOT passed as a standalone measure.  It was incorporated within a budget reconciliation measure that meant it had to pass by a simple majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the President.

Yes, that was done.  The House of Representatives and the Senate majorities were under control of the Democrat party and party-line votes were sufficient to pass the measure.  It bears noting, previous major legislation, Social Security, Civil Rights, and many others, were passed as stand alone measures and required overcoming filibusters and attaining a two-thirds majority to pass.

As a consequence of of the parliamentary maneuvering, the House of Representatives shifted from a narrow Democrat majority to a significant Republican majority and has remained that way.  The shift was accomplished by the Republicans desiring to counter the Affordable Care Act, which is growing in unpopularity with the American public.

So, the running score is: Democrats - 0, Republicans - 4

Now, let’s look at another major failing you, as current office holder, are enabling -- bloated government debt and the need to raise the “debt ceiling”.  The current government debt is $16 trillion and climbing.  This figure is mind-boggling and unsustainable.

The current effort to raise the debt ceiling is the second effort undertaken by the Democrat Administration.  During the first go-round, there were “negotiations” conducted and the President conceded some point while the House conceded some points.  In the end, a “sequestration” was offered by the President and accepted by the House leadership as a means to begin to establish real goals to reign in uncontrolled government spending.
Needless to say, the President and Administration officials ignored the negotiations and proceeded to continue uncontrolled government growth.  Hence, the debt ceiling is once again an issue.

And, the news media is displaying the childish taunting of the President stating “I will not negotiate.”

So, the running score is: Democrats - 0, Republicans - 5

While the running box score is showing a lead, what is not displayed is the losers -- the American Public.
Senator, you were elected with a promise to represent ALL of your constituents.  From my point of view, you have failed to live up to your oath of office.

At this point in time, my full support is behind the Republican effort to defund or repeal the monstrosity of the Affordable Care Act.  Perhaps, you should have read it before voting for it.  I have been reading the ill-advised legislation and daily, the news is reporting more failures within the legislation.

My full support is behind the Republican effort to reduce government spending.  The current unsustainable debt is leading to a financial crisis where the average person cannot strive to achieve a living wage.

My full support is behind the Republican effort to reduce excessive government regulation.  The growing volumes of intrusive regulations are making it difficult to impossible for businesses and individuals to achieve a decent living.

In short, stop spending, stop regulating, reduce the debt....

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