Theodore R. Griffiths
Assoc. Opinion Editor
Republicans in Congress are throwing a temper-tantrum over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) again. This is the 42nd time Republicans have tried to temporarily or permanently defund Obamacare, but this time it will have a ripple effect that will impact many Americans.
Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia, are willing to risk a government shutdown by avoiding the passage of a new budget on the deadline of October 1. If this process is ignored, a second deadline will be reached only a few weeks later that will result in America literally running out of money to pay its bills.
This government shutdown is a threat from Republicans, especially members of the Tea Party, to defund Obamacare. They are willing to risk the entire system of government to get their way, simply because they need something to battle Obama with, and that is this Affordable Care Act.
I don’t particularly believe in the Affordable Care Act, and I believe that President Obama went into negotiations far too willing to compromise, but that has been his weakness throughout his presidency. This country needs a true form of universal healthcare, because our out of pocket costs for healthcare (an average of 55%) are more on par with developing countries than fully developed countries like England or France.
Regardless of my disagreement with Obamacare, I consider myself a fairly rational person, and a rational person would not promote a government shutdown simply because they didn’t get their way on one particular bill.
Sen. Ted Cruz is trying to make a name for himself, and become someone that Fox News and their under-informed Republican viewers can rally around. He is obviously a smart man because his angle is unfortunately working.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was quoted as stating, “This is totally irresponsible, completely juvenile and, as I called it, legislative arson. It’s just destructive.”
Pelosi is absolutely justified in making that comment, because a Congress full of adults should be negotiating instead of screaming in the corner like a child who was told by his mother that he couldn’t go outside and play with his friends. It is a completely selfish move that only benefits the insurance company lobbyists that the Republicans work for. They have never worked for the people voting for them.
The repercussions of a government shutdown on America as a whole is obvious, but no one seems to be discussing the effects it will have on the individual citizens, or even people who receive their paychecks from the government.
One effect of this shutdown is the inability to receive a passport if you plan on traveling and have yet to apply for and receive one. According to CNN, 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed the last time there was a government shutdown. The ability to travel abroad will not only cease, but all 368 National Park Services sites will be closed.
A second effect, and something that hits home for me and millions of other Americans, is the fact that you or your family members who serve in the military to protect our country will be paid in IOUs until the shutdown ends. They will still be required to risk their lives until these overpaid, underworking children in Congress sort out their differences, but they won’t receive any compensation until the shutdown ends.
I don’t like guns and I don’t understand American’s fascination with them, but the gun nuts of America will also be affected by this shutdown. Forget about having a gun permit processed, you’ll have to wait for your favorite Republicans to get back to work.
What I find to be the most ironic part about this shutdown situation is the fact that Obama’s healthcare act will still continue its implementation during a shutdown. According to CNN, the Affordable Care Acts funds are not dependent on the congressional budget process.
Either Republicans have not done their homework when planning this shutdown, or they are just begging for attention, even if it is negative, for their slowly failing party.
The Affordable Care Act is obviously not an ideal healthcare plan for this country, and even I, as a Democrat, can see that, but it is no excuse to sabotage our democracy and allow the people who voted you into office to feel the repercussions.
It is unfortunate to see grown men and women act like rivaling high school cliques, but when you are working in Washington D.C. and being payed six-figure salaries to do almost nothing, reality becomes an afterthought and the almighty dollar becomes God. We can thank lobbyists and puppets like Sen. Ted Cruz for that.