Saturday, October 05, 2013

Pissed off (Or, Boehner: ENOUGH.)

This is an email I sent to the SierraRise community on behalf of the Sierra Club on Wednesday.

Dear Friend,

Take action today!House Speaker John Boehner is putting party ahead of country. He has the votes to end the shutdown right now, but he won't do it -- instead, he's letting a small group of tea party extremists overrule the majority of representatives.

I'm downright pissed -- are you?

Without a functioning U.S. government, 94% of EPA staff are out of a job -- not bad for Big Coal. And who was Boehner dining with on Friday night instead of negotiating? Why, none other than Big Coal executives.

Meanwhile, our national parks, from Yosemite to Cuyahoga Valley, are closed to families -- but not to private oil and gas leases. [1] Hiking and picnics are out, but corporate profit from public land has never been more in.

Nearly one million workers without a paycheck. No new mortgage or small business loans. Superstorm Sandy cleanup delayed. [2] Cancer research and food safety inspections on hold. [3] Everyone suffers from a government shutdown -- everyone except the corporate polluters.

A routine funding bill has the votes to pass, but Speaker Boehner won't even let it on the floor. Tell him to get his act together and put country before party today!

While Boehner and the tea party are playing games, real people are being impacted across the country -- like the Illinois National Guard members who still need to show up for work, but might not get paid. [4] Or the deli owner in Seattle who serves many federal employees and said, "I don't think [Congress] is thinking of people like us. If they keep going like this, how will we pay our rent?" [5] (Members of Congress, however, will still get paid.)

The House has the votes to pass a straightforward funding bill, but Boehner is blocking it. It would only take 17 Republicans joining with Democrats to pass a bill -- and Republicans even admit those 17 votes exist! [6] -- but Boehner won't allow it. A straightforward funding bill has the support of a majority of representatives in the House, but not of tea party Republicans, and that's all the Speaker cares about [7], the ultimate definition of putting party before country.

The Tea Party hasn't been able to get their way by winning elections -- so now they're holding our government hostage. But that's not how democracy works. As Senator John McCain told his colleagues last week, "Elections have consequences." The people re-elected President Obama and re-affirmed his agenda last November -- these extremists are just the worst kind of sore losers.

We can't let a small minority of extremists run our country. It's time we speak out against the broken system! Demand an end to the shutdown today!

Oh, sure, these jokers claim they're listening to the American public -- but that's a bald-faced lie. In a major new poll, 69% of Americans said Congressional Republicans are acting like "spoiled children." Another poll found that 72% of Americans oppose shutting down the government over health care. [8, 9]

This brinkmanship is undemocratic and, quite frankly, downright insane. Speaker Boehner needs to listen to the will of the people before the damage to our country gets even worse.

Tell Speaker Boehner to do his job and represent the will of the people, not the extremists in this party.

In it together,

Nathan Empsall
SierraRise Senior Campaigner

P.S. This is a minor detail, but I thought you might also want to know that a government shutdown means no more National Zoo panda cam, either.[10] To keep up with the latest campaigns and memes -- from the serious issues like the shutdown to the lighter stuff like those adorable pandas -- like SierraRise on Facebook!

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1. Goad, Jessica (2013 September 26). "National Parks Will Close To The Public But Stay Open To Drilling If The Government Shuts Down." Think Progress.

2. Herman, Malia Rulon (2013 September 27). "Government shutdown could affect Sandy rebuilding." South Jersey Courier-Post.

3. Plumer, Brad (2013 October 1). "The nine most painful impacts of a government shutdown." Washington Post.

4. Kilkenny, Allison (2013 October 1). "Federal Workers Nationwide Protest Government Shutdown." The Nation.

5. Song, Kyung M. and Alexa Vaughn (2013 October 1). "Local workers brace for government shutdown." Seattle Times.

6. James, Frank (2013 September 30). "Countdown To Shutdown: A Closure Appears Inevitable." NPR.

7. Capehart, Jonathan (2013 September 27). "Boehner’s choice: his caucus or our country." Washington Post.

8. Logiurato, Brett (2013 September 30). "POLL: Republicans Are Acting Like 'Spoiled Children' Over Obamacare." Business Insider.

9. Klein, Ezra and Evan Soltas (2013 October 1). "Wonkbook: Obamacare is alive but Congress doing its job is dead." Washington Post.

10. AP staff (2013 September 30). "National Zoo Panda Cam Goes Dark in Shutdown" ABC News.

Photo credit: Flickr user CincMatt, CC by 2.0

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