Sadly this law would never be passed. But I would like to propose The Government Shutdown Act. Here is how the law would work:
In the event of a government shutdown or an impasse on raising the debt ceiling:
1) All members of the house and senate must report within 24 hours to the floors of the house and senate. Failure to do so is considered an act of resignation and the member is removed from office.
2) The doors to both chambers are sealed. 10 Port-A-Johns are placed on the floor of the senate and 25 on the floor of the house.
3) Members are allowed only to keep literally the clothes on their back. No briefcases, purses or luggage of any kind and of course no changes of clothing.
4) Simple meals of soup and bread are served 3 times a day.
5) Each member is issued a wash basin, tooth brush, tooth paste 2 gallons of water, any required medication and an army blanket.
6) Members are not allowed to leave their floor until a bill is passed either funding the government, raising the debt ceiling or both, depending on the situation. Leaving the floor is considered resigning one’s office. Those who resign are ineligible for running for either branch of congress for life.
7) Members receive 0 pay from the time the doors are sealed until a bill is passed ending the shutdown, raising the debt ceiling or both.
OK, I know such a law would never be enacted and is probably unconstitutional. However, there should be some price congress must pay. This last time around they cost the economy 24 billion dollars. Ted Cruz is already talking about shutting the government down again.
At the very least Senators and members of congress and their staffs should receive no pay during a shutdown. It would be nice to have a parliamentary system where both houses could be dissolved and a snap election called.
As it is, we have the 2014 election. Anyone voting for republicans who wish to shutdown the government or who think a default by the US is no big deal, deserve the continued crises and disfunction such a vote would bring.
After 16 days of partisan bickering, reason and sanity have prevailed over the politics of extremism and extortion. When early Thursday after President Obama signed a bill to open the government and raise the debt ceiling. Earlier the Senate passed the bill 81-18 and the House followed passing the bill 285-144.
It should be noted that the majority of House Republicans voted against the bill. After causing the crisis by refusing to fund the government, and with the reputation and creditworthiness of the United States in dire jeopardy, they put party and their agenda above the good of the country. If there was any doubt about how far out of touch the Republican Party is with the wishes of the American people, this vote clarified with laser like focus where the Republicans stand. The Republicans were willing to do anything to get what they wanted regardless of the harm caused to America.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see just how the 9 members of the Hall of Shame voted on this bill to stave off disaster.
1) Congressman John Culberson -R Texas Voted Nay
Culberson to remind you was the fellow who compared shutting down the government to the heroic passengers who confronted the hijackers on 911. Apparently to this moment, he is gripping his butter knife and shouting “Let’s Roll!”
2) Congresswoman Michele Bachman -R Minnesota Voted Nay
Ms. Bachman was the lady who spoke of how happy the Republicans were about shutting down the government. Well the government is open and the debt ceiling raised. Double bummer huh Michele?
3) Congressman Marlin Stutzman -R Indianna Voted Nay
Stutzman is the felliw who said Republicans needed “to get something” although he didn’t know what that something was. He is now pouting cuz the mean old president didn’t give him anything.
4) Congressman John Boehner -R Ohio, Speaker of the House Voted Aye
Boehner speaking to a radio show in Ohio said “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.” Apparently in Boehner’s view, putting the country thru 16 days of turmoil, hurting our economy, damaging our reputation and bringing us to the brink of disaster, represents fighting the good fight. I call it dangerous, irresponsible brinkmanship. And yes he did vote aye and he didn’t block the vote from being taken, but he will get no kudos from me for that. He should have allowed a vote from day 1 and saved the country from all the unnecessary trauma and turmoil. Boehner in my mind should lose his speakership. He should lose his seat in the house and go back to being a janitor. Then he can clean up messes instead of making them.
5) Congressman Paul Ryan -R Wisconsin Chairman of the Budget Committee Voted Nay
Ryan was the man who advocated solving the crisis by having a budget conference and adopting entitlement reform in an op ed piece in The Wall Street Journal. The law that he voted against sets up just such a committee, even putting Ryan on as a leader. Apparently Ryan isn’t interested in negotiating unless he has a gun at the fellow’s head. His vote against staving off economic calamity does show one thing very clearly. America made the right choice when they rejected him as vice president. This man is completely unfit for office.
6) Congressman Ted Yoho -R Florida Voted Nay
Yoho speaking about not raising the debt limit said this: “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.” I don’t think I need to say more. This fellow is just clueless.
7) Senator Ted Cruz -R Texas Voted Nay
He was one of the driving forces behind the whole Republican strategy of shutting down the government. After the vote he was vowing to continue the fight against Obamacare. Sadly, we haven’t heard the last from Cruz. He will continue to be a negative force in politics until the good people of Texas vote him out of office. Fellow Republican John McCain said it best when he called Cruz a “whacko bird.”
8) Congressman Eric Cantor -R Virginia House Majority Leader, Voted Aye
Cantor voted aye but like Boehner he will get no praise from me. HR 368 changed the rules so that no other person but Cantor or his designee could use a parliamentary procedure to bring a vote on a resolution to open the government. He and Boehner refused to allow such a vote, instead subjecting the country to 16 days of needless suffering.
9) Congressman Steve Stockman -R Texas Voted Nay
Stockman was the fellow who spoke of the need of congress to listen to the people. This man himself is stone deaf when it comes to listening to the American people. The American people overwhelmingly wanted an end to this entire sad escapade but not Stockman. He voted nay.
So there we have it. Of my 9 members of the Hall of Shame, 7 voted against the bill to avoid a default and open the government. The other 2 Boehner and Cantor could have called a vote any time during the crisis and ended it, but refused to do so until America was brought to the edge of disaster. I believe my 9 choices proved themselves worthy of their badges of shame.
Sadly, we face another deadline in a few months. Cruz is already saying he won’t rule out another government shutdown. If that happens, the Hall of Shame will be re-opened for new members.
Today we have a superb candidate for the hall of shame. In just a few ineloquent words, he embodied what is wrong with this Republican led government shutdown.
I am speaking of a great public servant. A man who puts country above party. A humble self-effacing man. I’m speaking of none other than Howe, Indiana’s Marlin Stutzman. Congressman Stutzman very clearly explained the Republican’s strategy in regards to the shutdown: “We aren’t going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
So in other words, we took the hostages, now give us something and don’t you dare disrespect us. This kind of mentality shows how self serving Republican strategy has become. We can expect that every time a resolution is needed to fund the government, the Republicans are going to block it until we “give them something”. Never mind how much it hurts the country, the Republicans have made this type of extortion politics the hallmark of their way of governing. They are unable to accomplish anything thru legitimate legislative process, so every 6 months or so they use the opportunity to withhold funding to “get something”.
Mr. Stutzman, you are very wrong. You are disrespected. You are reviled, ridiculed, and scorned. By your own words, you admit you don’t even know what you hope to accomplish. Maybe before you throw 800,000 people out of work, hurt our country in a myriad of ways, maybe just maybe you might want to know why you are doing it. You sir, are a pathetic excuse for someone who is supposed to be a public servant.
For your disregard for your responsibilities as a US Congressman and just overall asininity, you are hereby inducted into my Hall of Shame. Congratulations on this badge of disrespect. You’ve certainly earned it.