KATIE ZERR: Blackmail is never a good tactical move


On Monday, 800,000 federal employees were sent home on furlough while the childish tactics of some members of Congress brought parts of the federal government to a halt.

These people, labeled non-essential employees, are not getting paid while the infighting of the Republican Party takes a toll on the average American and our economy.

These so called leaders of our country are playing hardball because they don’t like the Affordable Care Act passed and signed into law in 2010. Conservative Republicans have vowed to stand strong against this legislation they say will lay the country in ruin. They have had three years to fix what is wrong with this legislation. Instead they chose to stand across the aisle, call names and let the people of this country pay for their childish behavior.

No matter how they paint it, this is a grandstand that doesn’t hurt them, it hurts our country. This is just one more example of how it is more important to make the other party look bad than it is to aid our nation in its economic recovery and to do what is right for the American people.

Even journalist Bob Woodward, who has no love for the Obama Administration, said this shutdown is the Republicans in Congress blackmailing this administration.

Blackmail is defined as an act involving unjustified threats to make a gain or cause loss to another unless a demand is met. This is exactly what this group is doing.

This is nothing new, but it has been labeled by people in all professions as incredibly stupid on the part of this group of conservative Republicans. These tactics have never worked.

When the Conservatives failed to get Senate Democrats to go along with this debacle, they made another grandstand move and called them to the “conference committee” to resolve the differences.

According to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, the move is ironic. She has been trying for more than six months to do the same in order to work out dramatic differences between the Senate budget and the House version. Senate and House Republicans have objected, repeatedly.

According to Murray, she and her colleagues asked 18 times and were blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a group of Tea Party Republicans led by Sen. Ted Cruz.

Yet now they are calling Democrats out for not rushing into conference.

On Tuesday, as barricades were set to go up around the National Mall, an Honor Flight with World War II veterans from Mississippi and Iowa came upon the yellow tape and closed signs. Most of these vets were in their late 70s and 80s and many were in wheelchairs. The outrage that these men and women were locked out of their memorial by the childish acts of our Congress was heard on Capitol Hill. In yet another grandstand move members of Congress rushed to aid, cameras rolling, to show how much they cared about these veterans. It was a little late for that.

This is not just a Washington problem. In Rapid City alone, nearly 1,000 federal workers, including 450 full-time National Guard employees, have been put on furlough. Mount Rushmore and other national parks are closed.

In Mobridge, there are people staying home, without pay, because of this. For every family that doesn’t get a paycheck, less money is put into our economy. How many Tea Party backers will still support this move when their bottom line begins to shrink?

Is it fair to delay flood relief to the people in Colorado or to shut down drug trials for people who are battling life-threatening diseases in order to make a stand against something that has already been a law for more than three years?

Holding the American people hostage over a battle for power amongst Republicans is not only foolish, but also destructive.

This has been brewing for years, but instead of finding solutions to these problems, our Congress, on both sides of the aisle have continued to push down the American people, in order to play their games.

Republicans claim they are a party for all people, but actions of some in their party speak so much louder than their words.

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