Is the final outcome of a political grandstand already sealed?
House Republicans have prepared for “a very brief” shutdown of the federal government. In fact, they are defensive about it.
“The federal government has shut down 17 times before, sometimes when the Democrats were in control, sometimes with divided government,” said U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. “What are we doing on our side of the aisle? We’re fighting for the American people.”
Some of those American people include the Department of Defense employees classified as civilians. Others are those who work for the National Park Service. In fact, about 500,000 American people will immediately be furloughed. On top of that, there will be a ripple effect for American people going about their day-to-day business. Passport and visa applications will be delayed. Gun-permit approvals will be delayed. U.S. bankruptcy and other federal court cases will be continued. Families waiting on approval for mortgage applications will have to wait even longer.
Congressional and White House staffers will even go home.
But a little good news. The House is poised to pass a measure that will keep military personnel paid during a government shutdown. Of course, that good news is tempered by the knowledge that the House anticipates a shutdown to the point of preparing for it.
The Senate has gone home for the weekend. The House is poised to pass another measure that will ensure the government keeps going past the 11:59 p.m. Monday deadline, but again, the measure includes language for a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the tax on medical devices that would help pay for it.
“The American people don’t want a government shutdown, and they don’t want ‘Obamacare,’” House Republican leaders said in a joint statement. “We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”
And so the stalemate begins. And nobody wins, especially those American people Congresswoman Foxx is talking about.
Why? Because the Senate leadership has said that it will not accept changing the health care law as a condition to keep the government open.
That’s what happens when you take a hard line. You’re all in, win or lose. You can’t back down from it. The House won’t even negotiate a temporary spending bill unless delaying the health care law is part of the package. And the Senate won’t allow the House to kill or remove the teeth from landmark legislation that’s supposed to fully take effect next year.
And the president?
“Republicans in the House have been more concerned with appeasing an extreme faction of their party than working to pass a budget that creates new jobs or strengthens the middle class,” Barack Obama said during his weekly address to the nation.
“And in the next couple days, these Republicans will have to decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open, or create a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda. The American people have worked too hard to recover from crisis to see extremists in their Congress cause another one.”
This is a bad situation that has been caused solely by party politics. But it’s all just prelude to an even more disastrous stalemate just a few weeks down the road. On Oct. 17, the U.S. will run out of money to pay its bills and will need to borrow in excess of the debt-limit ceiling already imposed by Congress. Congress has to raise that ceiling or the U.S. economy could suffer even more than it would under a government shutdown. Interest rates on everything from credit cards to student loans to mortgages could increase. And the U.S. creditworthiness will plummet on the global scale.
Is it too much to ask at this point that party politics be put aside since it appears as if Congress has already prepared to “go to the mattresses” and fight this fight despite the consequences? Both side proclaim they are fighting it for the American people.
But it’s the American people who are going to lose no matter who wins.
Is the final outcome of a political grandstand already sealed?
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
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