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Enough is Enough

By William Spriggs | 10/17/2013, 6:29 p.m.

Back on Sept. 12, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted for the 42nd time to derail the Affordable Care Act. That’s 42 more times than they have voted on raising the minimum wage, increasing federal investments in our roads or highways or helping local school districts get the hundreds of thousands of teachers whose jobs were lost when the Great Recession cut local tax revenue back into our children’s classrooms. That makes the count zero votes on the things America’s families want to see Congress address. Instead, having lost 42 times at this strategy if this were a best of competition, like the World Series best of seven games, House Republicans are now playing for best of out of 85 to see if they can finally derail people from getting access to affordable health insurance.

The catch is that the best of 85 tries they are shooting for is now coming at the expense of all America’s workers having access to their government. So, families of veterans cannot get timely payments to help bury their dead, small business owners cannot get loans, people cannot get their home loan papers approved on time, children are losing out on Head Start, mothers are losing out on food assistance for their children through the Women, Infants and Child (WIC) nutrition program, all so the Republicans can try stopping peoples’ access to health insurance from private health insurance companies.

Having failed through normal channels of getting legislation passed, Republicans sided with conservative strategists who earlier this year conceived a plan to shut down the federal government to force President Barack Obama to concede. Thank goodness the president has stood firm to this reckless behavior and refused to negotiate with these tactics.

To understand if these tactics are really what Republicans claim to be the new rule of the day, ask how Fox News would react if the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) decided that it would vote against a funding resolution for the government if the House Republican leadership did not pass the comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed early this year by the Senate. With America’s families taking to the streets asking Congress to take action, the CHC would be responding to the will and desires of millions of Americans.

Yet, here we are. The House has held 42 votes to kill access to subsidies for private health insurance to America’s middle-class families, refuses to fix our broken immigration system in a way that would cut the deficit and boost growth and is sticking to its strategy of closing the government to the people.

Their next move is to double down on threatening the fragile state of the economy by repudiating the word and honor of the United States of America. Around the globe, governments, companies and people hold U.S. Treasury notes, because at its founding, America pledged and made good on its word as a fledgling nation to honor its debts. China does not buy U.S. Treasury notes out of some nefarious motive as much as they understand that U.S. Treasury notes are better than gold in the current world economy. Our ability as a nation to have a government with the option of expanding our economy when needed and make investments in our children’s future rests on the bond of the full faith people have that America keeps its word. At the moment, it is what makes us the global leader. Even the thought of reversing the hard-earned legacy of our nation’s 237-year history is to surrender our unique standing in the world. It would be equivalent to sending our nuclear arsenal to China and handing them the global mantle. The world economy would be thrown into disarray as central banks and governments rushed to devise another standard of security. Loan activity would halt because U.S. Treasury notes serve as rock solid collateral for so many transactions.

Clearly, this is not the way to run government. Creating crises that affects the functioning of the government and threatening to create a global economic crisis over the honor of America is not acceptable. If President Obama concedes to this type of strategy, then America will limp from one manufactured crisis to the next. Congress has a responsibility to pass a budget, and to pass legislation to ensure that America pay its debt. President Obama need not bargain anything to get Congress to do its job.

It also would be wrong for President Obama to trade our earned benefits from Social Security and Medicare to satisfy the demands of Republicans for low taxes for the richest Americans, many of whom benefited from the bailout of the corrupted banking system.

Enough is enough.

Edited for space purposes. See the full version online.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs.