On the Likely Government Shutdown

BREAKING NEWS EDIT: Turns out that husband’s department is already funded through June 30th, leaving them unaffected by the shutdown.  Why they were unable to figure this out before and announce it is mystifying, though.

It seems more or less certain now.

On Monday, when someone calls my husband’s office, emails him or checks the department’s website, they will not be able to get information on the programs that feed children in Utah.  Instead, there will be a message along these lines:

Due to the shutdown of the Federal government, this office is now closed.

I have no idea what the full ramifications will be on school districts, poor schools and neighborhoods, and the children who rely on these programs for healthy nutrition, but it is sure to be ugly.

And while most of the news media I see insists on talking about this mainly as a true good-faith negotiation between the parties about cuts to avoid a shutdown, I find I’m really starting to agree with Rachel Maddow on several points.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner is either bad at his job or confused about what his job actually is*
  • Many within the Republican party actually want the government to shut down and are working very hard to make sure that negotiations fail**
  • Conservative lawmakers don’t care about hurting women, if they can appease the anti-abortion donors by cutting non-abortion services in the name of a pro-choice ideology

I’m tired of people being allowed to lie about the games being played when they’re holding my husband’s job along with millions of others hostage.  I’m tired of people pretending that defunding Planned Parenthood is about abortion (given the already heavy regulation of where funds can be used) instead of providing medical services like cancer screening, pre-natal care and contraception in communities with no other option.  I’m tired of the hyper-conservative wing of the Republican party (including our own Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz) pretending they don’t represent the whole of their constituency (me).

* Hint: it’s providing leadership to conduct the affairs of government rather than shut it down through games, it’s passing a budget since minding the purse-strings are pretty much the main job of the legislative branch, it’s making sure that you keep your separate party interests molded into a solid agenda rather than being ruled by divisive elements in your own party, it’s making sure you actually show up to work on a regular schedule and work to pass real legislation and not empty gestures of defiance.  Whatever your opinion of former Speaker Pelosi, she ran bills through that body like nobody’s business.  The Speaker’s constitutional job is to run the House, not to be obstructionary in order to prevent the current President from winning re-election.

** Evidenced by the cheers at news of failed talks as well as Representative Ryan’s remarks that his odious, Medicare-killing budget wasn’t a budget, but a cause.

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