Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
There is no end in sight to the Republican shutdown of the Federal Government. A small and crazy group of political terrorists is holding the country hostage. Most of the country does not want this shutdown. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found that fully 72% of people oppose shutting down the Federal Government to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Even in Congress, cooler heads would prevail if only they would be allowed to. At latest count, there are enough votes in the House to pass a clean version of the Senate continuing resolution to fund the government. At least 20 moderate Republicans have voiced support for a clean bill. Those 20, along with the House Democrats, would be enough rational votes to re-open the United States Government for business. Speaker of the House Boehner simply will not allow that vote to happen.
Our own Representative, Jim Sensenbrenner, is as responsible for shutting down our Government as anyone in Congress. On August 21, Rep. Sensenbrenner sent a letter to House Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In that note, Sensenbrenner, along with 79 of his politically extreme comrades, urged Boehner to bring about the national disgrace of closing our Government.
In Rep. Sensenbrenner's letter to House Republican leadership, he “urged you to affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.” Knowing that the President and Democratic Senate would never go along with de-funding the Affordable Care Act, this course of action would only lead to an ultimate government shutdown.
And Rep. Sensenbrenner did not just talk about shutting down the government. His actions during the past several weeks have directly contributed to the shuttering of National Parks, mass furloughs of civilian defense employees, halting of food inspection, and the mothballing of NASA.
Before the current Republican shut-down, Rep. Sensenbrenner has been steadfast in his hatred of the Affordable Care Act. He voted with his party an amazing 42 times to defund the law. These attempts, while silly, expensive, and distracting, did not do the country lasting harm. However, recent actions by our Congressman have hurt our country, its people, and its economy in ways that, if carried out by a foreign country, would be considered an act of war.
On September 20, Rep. Sensenbrenner and his House colleagues voted for a continuing resolution to keep the government functioning through December 15. They insisted on adding a measure defunding Obamacare, despite the President saying that he would veto the measure and the Senate saying that they would reject it.
The Senate stripped the measure defunding Obamacare, approved the rest, and sent it back to the House. With time running out, on September 29 the Republicans continued playing games. They added a measure that would delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act for a year. Left unsaid was that the law would then be delayed in perpetuity. They also added a clause that employers could refuse to cover contraceptives in their insurance. Knowing full well that these changes would not be accepted by the Senate, Rep. Sensenbrenner again voted with his party for the altered continuing resolution.
Getting yet another clean bill from the Senate on September 30, Sensenbrenner and his House colleagues added a measure that would delay the Obamacare individual mandate for a year. The mandate is one of the keystone provisions of the law and removing it would do great damage to its implementation.
On October 1, the Government officially shut down. The Senate again sent the House a clean bill. Fiddling while America burned, the House and Jim Sensenbrenner voted to add back the unacceptable delay of the individual mandate.
At any time during this long road to Government shut-down, Jim Sensenbrenner could have acted like a responsible adult. He could have voted against the “poison pill” bills. He could have spoken-out against holding our Government hostage for blatantly partisan games. He could have acted as a leader and rallied members of his party to vote for a clean continuing resolution.
Sensenbrenner's August letter to House leadership further stated, “We look forward to collaborating to de-fund one of the largest grievances of our time...” So Jim Sensenbrenner calls insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, coverage of young people under 26 through their parents' plans, and coverage of contraceptives the “largest grievance of our time”.
In a September 20 press release, he further called the Affordable Care Act “ the president’s abominable health care law”. So Jim Sensenbrenner believes that no lifetime cap on coverage, no co-pay for preventive exams, and elimination of the “donut hole” for Medicare prescription drugs is “abominable”.
Through his words and his actions, it has been made clear that Jim Sensenbrenner thinks that denying 30 million Americans access to quality care and stopping individuals from easily comparing insurance plans is worth shutting down the Government of the United States of America. This is indeed, Sensenbrenner's Shutdown.