As a concerned citizen of Oklahoma, I became disgusted with the shutdown, and the things the GOP was doing. I decided to write a letter to Senator Inhofe, and tell him what I thought about the lies and tricks they were using to deceive the people in my state in effort to try and keep it from being enacted. I told him point blank that if he didn't back down and help to re-open the government, that I would personally begin a campaign in Oklahoma to make sure NO Republican ever held a seat in this state again. I was most likely out of line, but my intentions are real. I want help unseating these dinosaurs. So I wrote it anyway. This was his response.
Dear Ms. Reed:
Thank you for your correspondence regarding the recent government shutdown. As your voice in Washington, I appreciate being made aware of your views.
As you know, the Constitution of the United States grants the "power of the purse" to Congress. The process of determining how Congress spends annual federal revenues begins with the President's budget request and is bound by the rules of the House and Senate, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, and current program authorizations. Due each year no later than the first Monday in February, the President's budget is not legally binding, but rather a recommendation for legislative action.
Following the budget's release, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), individual agencies, and other administration officials testify and explain their specific budget requests before congressional committees. As a part of this complex federal budget process that includes budget resolutions, appropriations (regular, supplemental, and continuing) bills, rescissions, and budget reconciliation bills, there are 12 regular appropriations bills that are considered by Congress each year.
The President presented his budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2014 to Congress on April 8, 2013. Using it as a guideline, the House and Senate each passed its own budget on March 21 and March 23, respectively. However, before the start of FY2014, October 1, no appropriations bills had been passed by both chambers and signed into law.
As such, in September, the House passed a continuing resolution that would have funded the government at FY2013 levels ($986.3 billion) through December 15. This continuing resolution also included language requiring the U.S. Treasury to honor its public debt payments should America reach its debt ceiling, and defunded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senate Democrats then removed the defund provision. In response, the House offered alternative amendments that would delay the ACA individual mandate for one year and eliminate employer health insurance premium subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs, but Senate Democrats rejected these efforts as well.
Over the course of the shutdown, the House repeatedly sent the Senate common-sense solutions to fund the government while addressing the concerns Americans have over the President's healthcare law. Addressing the $2.6 trillion ACA is a necessary part of a larger discussion our government needs to have about the nearly $17 trillion in debt our nation currently holds. Prior to the government shutdown, the President could have accepted the House's proposal to delay the law's individual mandate, something he has done five other times for various parts of the law. Instead, knowing a government shutdown was looming, he publicly announced his intention to veto the House's proposals. Sadly, rather than negotiating and beginning the process of reforming this financially disastrous piece of legislation, he and the Democrats decided that a government shutdown would be more advantageous to their spending agenda.
On October 16, Congress passed H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Act for FY2014, which continues federal spending through January 15, 2014, at the sequester-reduced levels. The Treasury's borrowing authority to finance government operations (debt limit) was extended through February 7, 2014. The measure also requires the verification of income eligibility for all individuals seeking health care subsidies through state insurance exchanges created by the ACA, and provides retroactive back pay for those federal workers who were furloughed during the government shutdown. Additionally, the law calls for a bicameral conference committee to meet to reconcile differing versions of a budget for FY2014.
I believe that the role of the federal government should be limited in order to create an environment in which all Americans have the opportunity to better themselves and achieve success. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to our runaway government spending, which will cripple our nation for generations if not addressed. The federal government is becoming more invasive than our Founding Fathers ever intended; our national debt is slated to skyrocket to $25 trillion in the next decade; and the President's fiscal recklessness is disarming America and making our national security more vulnerable than ever before. I look forward to continuing this debate and ensuring this crucial discussion about our nation's future remains in the forefront of funding decisions.
Again, thank you for contacting me. As the budget process continues, know that I will support what is best for Oklahoma. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any additional thoughts or concerns you may have.
James M. Inhofe
United States Senator
Now I realize this was most likely an automated response sent out to anyone who wrote saying they didn't like his policies, but the "fuck you" stands out to me. In his response he readily blames the President for the shutdown that his own party has taken full (well... maybe not "full"...) responsibility for. He then goes on to say how the plan will basically bankrupt our nation and leave us defenseless.
After much anger and thought about this issue, I want so badly to respond to each word of this letter, and I need help. Our WONDERFUL Governor, (snark) has already made it known that she will not accept federal monies for ACA. She has said that she is coming out with her own plan, but we have yet to see anything. Now she even has my husband believing his insurance is going to double because of the ACA (and he has supported ACA). I believe that if it goes up that much, it will be because of our Governor, NOT ACA. But how do you explain that to all these people that have been through the Faux Brainwashing News Network? The cry of Benghazi still echoes through this state despite the proof provided by sane people.
Then the news reports our Governor may be running for Senate, or a run for the Presidency. (Lord)
The craziness is far from over. Special Interests have gripped Oklahoma tight with the oil and gas industry, and our families are suffering, yet many believe the nonsense spewed by the far right. Minimum wage is 7.50 an hour, and they cut food stamps and many programs for the poor and disabled. They say we aren't trying.
Please help me answer this letter, and with ideas and ways to fight in my state.