Dragging out the government shutdown
The latest shutdown strategy of the GOP involves the restoration of funding to popular Budget items, such as the National Institute of Health, the national parks, the National Guard, reservists, veterans' benefits, FEMA, and WIC through mini-CRs. Although there are those who believe our legislators should take a line-by-line approach to the Budget in order to cleanse it of wasteful spending, voting to restore funding to individual government programs is terribly inefficient and thoroughly dysfunctional as doing so is simply destructive in the real world. Meanwhile, alleviating the pain inflicted upon key constituencies only has the potential of alleviating pressure on our political leaders, thus this effort will likely extend the shutdown. It is good that Republicans want to restore funding to programs like FEMA and WIC, but I feel this is only done to manipulate the American People, i.e. make us turn on the Democrats for failing to support their own social priorities.
On the other hand, an effort on behalf of the GOP to accept key Democratic priorities in return for Democratic support on key Republican priorities is needed. That said, imagine a manager who tells his employee that she must finish three times her normal workload in half the time then threatens to fire her instead of helping her find a way to accomplish the herculean task. She may well get her work done after a frantic rush, but she will almost assuredly resent her boss and screw him over as soon as she gets the chance to do so. If Republicans manage to extract concessions from Democrats while the Country teeters in a state of duress, it will only foster even greater distrust and dysfunction. What our legislators need are working relationship that are built on given-and-take solutions, trust, and respect. Issues like the Budget, Obamacare, and the tax code are complex issues that should not be dealt with in a rushed manner. Our leaders need to understand and honestly debate the merits of policy changes instead of a accepting some Frankenstein Democratic-Republican “compromise” that uses incompatible ideas from both sides of the aisle and creates more problems than it solves
If Republicans truly belief in the power of democracy and negotiation, they need to agree to end the shutdown with a clean CR and to engage in immediate negotiations over key related issues like the Budget. Certainly, Democrats have played their part in allowing the government to become so dysfunctional. There were times when the GOP burnt their bridges by irrationally attacking Democratic efforts for political gains, but Democrats allowed their emotions to dictate their responses and they shutout potential olive branches from individual Republicans members. Moving beyond bad politics, Republicans might not get their way if they give up the ill-gotten, poisonous leverage the shutdown affords them, yet they can ensure GOP priorities will be better addressed in the future by working with Democrats through compromises and sensible solutions today. This is always the only way Republicans can save face over this debacle.
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