On the ninth day of the federal government shut down Wednesday, Senate Chaplain Barry Black delivered a strong-worded prayer urging Congress to respond to reports that families of fallen military service members were not receiving death benefits during the ongoing shut down.
"Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on faraway battlefields, it's time for our lawmakers to say 'enough is enough'," Black, formerly the Chief of Chaplains for the U.S. Navy, said at Wednesday's prayer. "Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. Forgive us, reform us and make us whole."
Although the theme of Black's prayers are usually apolitical, since the federal shut down last week they have taken on a decidedly political tone, praying for members of Congress to compromise on a solution so the federal government can begin to function again. more >>
America was founded to be a beacon of liberty, particularly religious liberty. The framers of our Constitution sought to preserve religious liberty to such an extent that they made it the first right protected in the Bill of Rights.
President Reagan, expanding on President Lincoln's phrase, referred to America as "the last, best hope of man on Earth." But this last, best hope is beginning to fade.
In countless instances we're seeing government exceed its proper constitutional role, ignore the constitutional limits placed on its power, and interfere with the constitutionally guaranteed liberties of its citizens -- especially eroding religious liberty. more >>
The media is dramatically reporting that the federal government shut down on October 1 - yet hardly anyone has noticed. This is because it is not really a "government shutdown." If only a few non-essential government functions have been temporarily halted, it is misleading to characterize it as if the entire government has shut down.
Congress came to an impasse on passing a budget last week, which left it up to the Obama administration as the executive branch to pick and choose which federal government programs to temporarily shut down as negotiations continue. Taking a cue from the government shutdowns of 1995-96, Obama knows which parts of government to shut down in order to ensure that Republicans again receive the blame. He's left in place the parts of government that people really need, like the military, federal prisons, the Post Office, operating the power grid, guarding federal property and mailing out Social Security checks. He's shut down the parks, museums and national monuments, because that will affect Americans' vacations. Having their vacations ruined is not enough to really hurt people, but it's enough to irritate them.
Obama furloughed 800,000 non-essential government employees out of 2.5 million federal civilian employees. He knows this sounds appalling to average Americans, who are struggling to make a living in the Obama economy. Wonder why there hasn't been a peep from the federal employees' unions? Obama is well aware that most of the media, which is in the tank for him, will not report that the "furloughs" are nothing more than extra free vacations. After previous government shutdowns, federal employees who were furloughed were retroactively paid. Sure enough, the House passed a bill on October 5 granting retroactive pay for the furloughed employees, which the Senate and Obama are expected to approve. more >>
The federal government shut down and right now House Republicans look really stupid but so do the President and Senate Democrats. None of the three want to do the jobs they were elected to do: serve at the behest of "we the people." Everyone needs to grow up and if non-essential government workers don't get paid, I don't think the President or members of Congress should either.
But I want to focus on the Republicans' antics because it's not a good look for the party. First, Senator Ted Cruz went on his defund Obamacare rant in the Senate, which did nothing to change things. The Senate passed a bill to fund the government for only six weeks, stripped of any House Obamacare defunding language, tossed it back to House Speaker John Boehner for a vote.
Enter Cruz again, the indefatigable defund hero, who riled up over 50 House Republicans who insisted on attaching Obamacare to the House's temporary government funding bill. Cheered on by Cruz, the House Republicans contorted and passed several funding bills ornamented with Obamacare delay or defund language. Before the stroke of midnight Monday, the last and final House bill rejected by the Senate included delaying Obamacare for a year and repealing the exemption from the healthcare law for members of Congress and their staff. more >>
Defunding ObamaCare does not really require an active decision by the U.S. House of Representatives. It is the default option-as in what happens if you don't do something.
Constitutionally, the people's House holds the government's purse strings. It does not need to pass a law requiring an agency to stop spending money. It can simply withhold authorization to spend it. That is, the House can simply refuse to act.
Suppose you have a child who is profligately spending your money on things that you disapprove of and that are very harmful-by charging them to your credit card. If the card is about to expire, you don't have to use force to restrain the child, you could simply decline to renew it. more >>
"Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt….the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we are running up our debt." --Barack Obama
I am not the least bit concerned about the federal government shutdown. My worry is that it might open back up.
All of this could have been avoided if Washington politicians didn't have the budgeting skills of an Ole Miss frat boy. more >>