September 24, 2013

Recent actions by Congress show disregard for voters

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


I typically don't like to comment on national issues in the paper. There are enough editorial voices floating around the media sphere offering a variety of opinions, so typically I reserve mine for local affairs. 

But I'm upset, and I needed to produce a written scream. 

Last Friday the Federal House of Representatives passed a bill that would simultaneously prevent the government shutdown while defunding Obamacare. Right now that bill is floating around the Senate's chambers, while politicians like Ted Cruz develop ways to argue the legislation's merit.

For the last few years political commentators on both sides of the aisle have made jokes about congress achieving nothing. The common saying is, we continue to kick the can down the road. 

Well this time we didn't even move the can. Friday's vote was an exercise in futility. This bill isn't going to pass in a Democrat controlled Senate, and even if by some miracle it does, the President will veto it. Literally all of our representatives know this. They wasted our money, and more importantly, our time, when a major deadline loomed 11 days away. 

I spoke with Congressman Tom Cole last week about the vote. He said the underlying goal of this legislation was to strike up a conversation that could delay the implementation of The Affordable Care Act. 

I get it. Obamacare has been demonized by the right and their constituency so much, that repealing it has to be the first item on every GOP congressman's agenda, but do we really have to tie our fiscal prosperity to politicization? 

Preventing a government shutdown is something that should have been addressed months ago. There are multiple avenues that could have been used to solve this potential catastrophe, and then the GOP representatives could have spent the their time trying to create compromises that would satisfy their need to battle The Affordable Care Act.  Waiting until the last minute, and tying it directly to Obamacare is simply reckless. 

We elect these people to represent our interests, so Republicans are rightly compelled to battle Obamacare. 

But we also count on them to protect us, and that responsibility should always trump political gain.