Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
Tonight, the House and Senate passed the bipartisan Senate plan to re-open the Federal government and to keep the US from defaulting on our debt. The largest economy and greatest country on earth has finally been freed from a small group of political extortionists.
The shutdown lasted 16 days and has hurt our nation in many ways. Standard and Poor's estimates that the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy and lowered fourth-quarter growth by at least 0.6%. Millions of citizens have suffered from lack of critical services. Our international reputation has been besmirched.
Not content with the damage to America that they have already incurred, several right wing organizations encouraged Congress to vote against the Reid-McConnell plan on Wednesday night. FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, and Heritage Action all stated that they would “score” legislators on the bill. An “aye” vote could incur the wrath of these organizations, inviting support of a primary opponent who would better obey the groups' orders. They might also deny Super-PAC campaign funding to a candidate who didn't do their bidding.
How did our own elected officials vote on the bill? Did they vote to reopen the WW II memorial? Did they vote to reopen the National Parks? Did they vote to again allow meat inspection and scientific research? Did they vote to pay for our anti-terrorist intelligence efforts and disaster relief? Did they vote to pay the debts that they have already incurred?
The Senate voted at about 7 PM. The bipartisan vote was 81-18 for the bill to reopen the government and to pay our debts. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted for the compromise agreement. Sen. Baldwin acted in a responsible manner, doing what we sent her to Washington to do.
Senator Johnson voted against the bill. That is, Ron Johnson voted for the US to default on its debts and for the government to remain closed. One wonders about Sen. Johnson's motivation in making his irresponsible and bizarre decision. One wonders what possible rationale Mr. Johnson could have for voting to throw the country's economy into uncharted chaos.
The bill was then sent to the House, where a vote took place after an hour of debate. Like in the Senate, the bill passed in the House. Many responsible Republicans joined with all present Democrats in passing the bipartisan bill 285-144. Unfortunately, we are not represented by a responsible Congressman.
Like Ron Johnson, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner voted against the bill. Like Sen Johnson, Sensenbrenner voted to keep the Federal Government closed. He voted against paying the bills that our country has already incurred. Such blatant incompetence is unacceptable from the politician who represents us in Washington.
The people of Wisconsin and the 5th Congressional District have long memories. In November 2014, we will remember that Congressman Sensenbrenner voted to keep the Government closed and to renege on our national debt. In November 2016, we will remember that Ron Johnson followed the orders of the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks instead of the wishes of his Wisconsin constituents.