Government Dysfunction Reaches a New Low
Shutdown remains at a stalemate despite meetings with the President
By Jordan Smith, Staff Writer
The inaction continues, as of late Wednesday evening President Obama and the head honchos of the House of Representatives and Senate were still unable to reach an agreement on the budget issue that allowed for a nationwide government shutdown.
The shutdown sent 800,000 federal employees home without pay, and no end in sight. “The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate,” says Republican House speaker John Boehner. He made these comments following a meeting with the President and the Republican and Democratic House and Senate leaders late Wednesday evening. Vice-President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were also on hand.
All of this is the result of a routine spending bill laden with Republican sponsored provisions to delay the Affordable Care Act being voted down by the Democrat held Senate. The Act is part of what is commonly referred to as Obamacare, the hallmark of its namesake’s presidency thus far.
The grinding halt to work that has overtaken the federal government is something that was completely avoidable though. “The Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government… all because they didn’t like one law… Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act. They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” says Obama during a speech at the Whitehouse on Tuesday.
With time moving on there appears to still be a stalemate following the Wednesday evening meeting. Obama and his Democrats are holding tough against the Republicans though and refusing to give in. As unfortunate as this situation is for America and the rest of the world it is indicative of a larger dysfunction taking place in American politics.
The rift between the Republicans and Democrats has become ever greater and bitterer as of late. “US politics has become meaner and uglier over the past six months as far-right House Republicans, fearful of losing their seats to even more radical contenders in upcoming primary elections, have dug in,” says Simon Carswell in his article for the Irish Times.
It appears as though Washington is becoming mired in personal crusades to prove ones uncompromising ways, left or right. This has allowed for stalemates such as this most recent and ongoing one. To wrap up his speech on Tuesday President Obama ended with the words “We’re better than this.”
Jordan Smith is a 4th year History Major at Wilfrid Laurier University where he writes for the campus paper, The Cord.