Letter to the editor | A teachable moment

October 8, 2013 

In Rep. Glenn Thompson’s statement on his website about the government shutdown, he blames Senate Democrats and mentions “elementary civics.”

Perhaps he needs a refresher.

When a bill — after ample debate, negotiation and compromise — is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, it becomes a law.

The normal — and constitutional — ways to get rid of an existing law are: Congress repeals it; a popular election becomes a de facto referendum on the law, allowing voters to influence elected officials; or the law is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

But extreme Republicans in Congress, including Thompson, would rather ignore last year’s election results and Supreme Court decision.

They’d rather throw a tantrum and shut down the government while demanding that the duly-enacted Affordable Care Act be defunded or delayed, which is nothing short of extortion.

The shutdown is already having local consequences beyond the dollar cost to the U.S. economy.

Pennsylvania children have been kicked out of Head Start programs. The Pennsylvania WIC program (offering nutrition vouchers for pregnant women, infants and children younger than 5) will run out of money in a few weeks if the shutdown continues. Other states don’t even have that long.

Republicans are literally taking food from the mouths of babies.

While Republicans hold their breath, the rest of the country turns blue. Voters will remember come 2014.

Government-hating ideologues don’t belong in government. We need grown-ups doing the people’s business.

Krista Kahler

Philipsburg

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