If you would like to get involved or donate to Strouse's campaign, you can do so here:Like many Americans, I’ve grown frustrated with the political gamesmanship in Congress, which has brought our government to the brink of shutdown and put our economic recovery at risk. By using the threat of a shutdown, Republicans in Congress are harming our ability to govern effectively, and preventing our country from reaching its potential.
A government shutdown, due tomorrow, Oct. 1, unless a last-minute deal is reached, would have severe consequences, undermining our economy. A shutdown could delay salaries for our troops who are still fighting overseas in Afghanistan, disrupt processing of Social Security checks that keep our seniors comfortable in retirement, and harm U.S. housing, tourism, and financial markets. Additionally, 800,000 federal employees — including many veterans who now serve the US as civilians — would be forced to go on unpaid leave.Given the stakes involved, I am stunned that House Republicans, including our own Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, view a government shutdown or a debt default as an opportunity to play politics.
Should we avoid a shutdown, Congress will lurch toward its next crisis over whether we will make good on our debt payments. Unfortunately, this theater of the absurd has costs — the brinksmanship itself harms our economic recovery and ability to govern effectively.
I saw this first hand as a manager at the Central Intelligence Agency leading a team of officers investigating illicit financial issues in 2011. While my team and I were working to prepare the president and his National Security staff to deal with a crisis overseas, I was yanked away from my team and the mission in order to prepare for a shutdown. The contrast between those of us who wanted to do our jobs, and those who wanted to play political games, was stark.
Preparing for each shutdown has real financial costs — tax dollars are paying for government agencies to prepare for shutdowns rather than serving the American people.
The brinksmanship also has broader costs to our economy. Political dysfunction already prompted Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch to downgrade America’s credit rating. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned about the uncertainty that brinkmanship creates in financial markets and to job growth.
Rather than finger-pointing, Washington ought to be acting now to improve the lives of Americans, for example, by bringing some certainty back into our budget, reforming education so that every child has the opportunity to succeed, and dramatically improving services for veterans returning from war so that they can get the treatment they need and the jobs they deserve.
There are clearly profound disagreements in Congress — but there have been disagreements amongst our legislators since our country was founded. Most of us spend every day working with people with whom we disagree, and we find a way to work together to get the job done. That, unfortunately, is not happening in this Congress, and unless there’s a new approach in Washington the consequences to America will be severe.
Kevin Strouse (D. PA-08), the Iraq & Afghanistan War Veteran running against Tea Party Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R. PA-08), Tweeted me today about an op-ed piece he is spreading about the looming government shutdown. The Strouse campaign gave me permission to republish the op-ed piece to the Daily Kos:
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