“I am proud to shut down the government. I will take the mantle for this shutdown. I‘m not going to blame you for it,” President Donald Trump insisted to Democratic leaders at the White House on national television. It has been four weeks since one quarter of the Federal Government was shut down over the demand for a border wall—which Trump said throughout and after his campaign that Mexico would pay for—and there is no end in sight.
800,000 Federal employees are either on unpaid leave—to be reimbursed after the shutdown ends for no work performed—or they have been designated as “essential personnel” who must work without pay, and will be reimbursed when the government reopens. 50,000 additional personnel were called back this week to work without pay, joining others who have now missed their first paychecks, including many employed by TSA and the Coast Guard—trying to figure out how to pay their mortgages, rent, utilities, life insurance payments, credit card payments, and medical expenses.
Hundreds of thousands more federal contractors are off the job and will most likely not be able to recoup their missed paychecks. Garbage is uncollected and bathrooms are filthy at our national parks. There are long lines at airports. Tax refunds could be delayed. The federal government will likely owe interest penalties on late payments to contractors and to states if not paid on time.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, our new 7th District House Representative, pointed out in her op-ed Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the Culpeper Star-Exponent, that “we need to strengthen our national security in a long-term, comprehensive, and cost-effective manner. But we should be able to engage in these critical discussions without keeping the government closed.” She expanded on this following a meeting she attended with six other Democrats at the White House with President Trump Wednesday afternoon.
In mid-December, bipartisan House and Senate bills which Trump said he would sign were ready for the White House. The Senate bill was approved unanimously. But after commentators Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham of Fox News lambasted Trump for making concessions, he reversed course. Subsequently, the House has passed six bills with the same language as the Senate’s, but Republican majority leader McConnell has emasculated “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
Trump owns all of this. It’s Mueller time.
Editor’s Note: this letter originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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