|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.14.13
Monday, October 14, 2013 â€“
The House as a Footstool?
The President refused to negotiate with any Republican in either the House or the Senate to work out a potential solution to the partial government shutdown until Thursday, October 10, which was the tenth day of the partial shutdown. House discussions with the Obama White House collapsed the next day, however, and Senate leaders took up negotiations over the weekend of October 12 and 13.
When government is divided, as it currently is, there must be ongoing conversations involving all parties. All parties must be prepared to compromise. While the House majority is of a different party than the President, each one of the 232 House Republicans were elected by the constituents of their districts. The Founding Fathers didnâ€™t intend for the House to merely be a footstool for any President, and the House must be involved in the negotiating process. The Presidentâ€™s general refusal to participate in discussions with the House has been damaging to the negotiating process.
As long as I have the honor to represent the Ninth District of Virginia, I do not intend for the House to be a footstool. I donâ€™t care whether that President is a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. The constitutional prerogatives of the House must be defended.
As this column is being written, it is being reported that Senate leaders are approaching agreement. While I believe that serious negotiations should have started long ago, these are the facts that we must deal with. Therefore, a reasonable, short-term extension may be appropriate. The full extent of this reported agreement has not yet been released by the Senate negotiators. I will need to review the proposal in detail before determining whether in my opinion it is in the best interest of the United States.
In the Meantimeâ€¦
Since the beginning of the partial government shutdown, there has been an ongoing controversy regarding why open-air monuments and other park facilities (some of which donâ€™t cost any federal dollars) were closed as a response to the partial government shutdown. On Sunday, October 13, veterans and other supporters traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of the â€śMillion Vet Marchâ€ť to protest the partial shutdown-related closure of monuments and memorials. While a very small number of the participants behaved inappropriately, the vast majority were there to visit war memorials.
The National Park Service had the memorials barricaded so the veterans could not visit them. In the last week, though, the National Park Service gave clearance for a pro-immigration reform concert and rally. Then, a few days later, the same Park Service attempted to block veterans from paying tribute to those who died in the various wars. I believe it was out of frustration that many of the veterans participated in acts of civil disobedience by gathering barricades and moving some of them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue â€“ aka the White House â€“ where they made it clear, as one veteran said, â€śMr. President, tear down these barricades!â€ť
While the partial government shutdown is not something that anyone could or should truly want, I and others have to question why, during this difficult time, the Administration would choose to close down open-air war memorials.
Please keep in mind that, in the previous 17 shutdowns since the new budgeting process was started in the 1970s, NO OTHER PRESIDENT has taken such action.
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