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Senate Democrats won't consider fixing pain caused by shutdown

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
The government is closed, but Obamacare is open. President Obama correctly said that defunding Obamacare wouldn't stop it, so why is the government shut down?
House Republicans funded all the government except for two minor (disputed) Obamacare-related items providing fairness to individuals, small businesses and taxpayers. Democrats shut down the government rather than compromise.
Fairness requires that individuals and small businesses get the same one-year reprieve from Obamacare requirements that President Obama gave to big business. This reprieve would allow people to sign up for Obamacare, but not be forced to sign up or pay a penalty.
If the people who sign up for Obamacare get the benefits that President Obama promised, won't everyone rush to sign up voluntarily? How can disagreement over this justify shutting down the government?
The other disputed item is whether congressional and White House employees should get a taxpayer provided subsidy (for 3/4s of their health insurance premiums) that is contrary to the Obamacare law. Republicans say the law should be followed as Congress passed and President Obama signed it and there should be no special treatment for themselves and these federal employees.
But, perhaps fearing a revolt, President Obama decided to ignore the law and subsidize congressional and White House employees (many of whom earn over $100,000 and some nearly $200,000) in addition to any benefits provided by the Obamacare. Does protecting this unfair subsidy justify the harm caused by the government shutdown?
Although most Americans are unaffected by the shut-down, some Americans are hurt, especially since President Obama is shutting things that remained open during previous government shutdowns. Sometimes these closures are costing more money than normal operations.
Americans being hurt by the shutdown include, among others: 200 child cancer patients whose National Institute of Health trials have been stopped; veterans, National Guard, and combat soldiers whose payments are delayed; visitors to unexpectedly closed, for the first time, national parks and monuments; people thrown out of their homes on public land; millions of companies that are delayed or lose business; and millions of taxpayers whose taxes will pay non-essential government workers even though they aren't working.
The Republican House also passed bills fixing most of these specific problems to reduce the pain of the shutdown, but Senate Democrats won't even consider them. When asked why he wouldn't pass the bill funding the NIH trial for 200 child cancer patients, Democrat Senator Reid asked, "Why would we do that?"
President Obama and Democrats like to talk about fairness, but it isn't fair to deliberately harm so many people just to benefit big business and highly paid government employees.
Don Ewing