106 Days? Hardly Working

By William Spriggs | 10/11/2013, 4:08 p.m.

With the timeline in mind, and with the huge compromise the president is indicating he is willing to make on his budget proposal, the current shutdown is clearly the result of Speaker Boehner insisting on the acceptance of his uncompromised position and inability to get done with the appropriations process in a timely fashion.

Now, why is Congress having such a difficult time in doing its job on appropriations? Because five years after the fall of the financial sector, mainstream America is still down several million jobs and families in the middle are still down several thousand dollars in income. Yet, Congress continues to be obsessed with deficit reduction. And, the cuts the House of Representatives gave to maintaining our investment in America’s education and health in the House budget resolution were too big to get passed by the House-even the Republican majority in the House when that specific appropriation bill was brought out of committee.

Clearly, the current collision course is the reckless work of Boehner making political points with a bloc in his caucus and disregarding the needs of the American people. Failing to whip his caucus into slashing investments America needs for the future, he is nonetheless trying to bully the president to take the fall with him. With job growth moderating, Boehner is delaying federal contracting processes and hurting current contracts that many small business owners need to keep their doors open or expand to hire more workers. Risking the economic health of the nation to score political points shows Boehner is disconnected from the realities of Main Street.

Being an obstructionist plays well to the base of the tea party bloc in Speaker Boehner’s caucus. The tea party is convinced we don’t need government anyway. But to women who need access to child care so they can work, and mothers who need the assistance of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program to provide food for their babies, it matters if government is working. To the small business owners trying to line up loan assistance from the Small Business Administration to expand and hire more workers, it matters if government is working.

The tragedy for America is that the compromise being offered will lock in place the sequestration that will continue to shrink the investments America needs in schooling, roads and bridges. What we really need is a true alternative-ending the sequestration and protecting our earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. The real voice of America is being locked out of the conversation. We want teachers to return to our children’s classrooms and we need the services we lost because of the Great Recession’s effect on local budgets. Instead, now thanks to Speaker Boehner and his political agenda, we are locked out of our own parks and memorials.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs.