All of a sudden there is a 'national emergency' at our southern border. Isn't it strange how this situation has been going on for a long time, but all of a sudden, as Robert Mueller is closing in on him, the president decides this is a 'national emergency.' He insists that only a huge, multi-billion dollar border wall or fence (he keeps changing his story) will solve this 'emergency.' So he has refused to sign legislation to keep the government funded, after initially agreeing to sign it, until he gets money for the wall.
This has resulted in 8000,00 federal employees and untold government contractors being denied their paychecks. This is just latest attempt to distract the public from his legal woes. He decided not to sign the bill after being warned by his advisors at Fox 'News' and other conservative pundits that his 'base' wouldn't approve. Without funding, several federal agencies were forced to close. That means that workers at these agencies were sent home and are now in their third week without pay. Other workers, deemed 'essential,' are forced to work without pay.
The pain these workers are feeling is real. Many will be unable to pay rent or mortgage payments. Some will be unable to buy food for themselves and their families. Other bills will go unpaid. And what does the president suggest these unfortunate people do? "Make adjustments," he says. How does one "make adjustments" when there isn't enough money to buy groceries? Some have signed up for unemployment benefits, while others are taking any job they can find.
This isn't all on the president, of course, although most of the burden is on him. Senate Republicans are also to blame for refusing to even vote on a bill that the bully-in-chief won't sign.
I have a couple of thoughts to prevent this from happening again.
- Government shutdowns, whether partial or complete, should not be allowed for any reason.
- If Congress refuses to do its job and pass a budget, government agencies should continue operating with the same budget as the previous year.
- The American people should have the right to a vote of no confidence.
- Federal workers forced to work without pay during a furlough should all call in sick, as some TSA workers are doing.
- If both houses of Congress refuse to pass a budget in a timely manner, all members should be forbidden to run for reelection.
- Members of both houses should be confined to the chambers of Congress without food, water or bathrooms until they pass a budget.
- No one should be allowed to leave on vacation, whether it be the summer recess, the winter break or any other recess, until a budget is passed. Who else gets to go home for vacation while leaving critical work undone?
- there should be term limits for both houses: two six-year terms for senators and three two-year terms for representatives. There already are term limits for presidents, governors and other government positions. Being elected to high office should not be a lifetime career.
- Campaigning for any federal office should be allowed for no longer than six months before an election. It works in the United Kingdom, so why not here? No campaigning means no campaign-style rallies, no television ads and no print ads for or against any candidate.
- Members of Congress and administration officials should receive the same benefits and annual cost of living increases that are provided to other federal workers.
The American political system is badly broken; perhaps it is terminally ill. We must find a way to fix or replace it.