Partisanship: the political poison

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Jobs. Whether we like it or not, we all have them. For some, it’s being a full-time student. For others, it’s making lattes or washing windows.

However, the people who work for you — yes, you — are not doing their jobs.

It is the responsibility of Congress to agree and pass 12 appropriation bills that fund various federal agencies as well as prioritize spending. And as political party commitment has become more and more intense on both sides of the fence, Congress has become increasingly awful at doing this job.

Because they have been unable to accomplish this task throughout the years, resorting to a budget known as a stopgap has become procedure. A stopgap keeps the government funded as a continuing resolution.

As partisanship would have it, Congress failed to agree on a budget that would have prevented the government from shutting down a little over a week ago. It is the first shutdown in 17 years, with the last one under President Clinton, which remained for 21 days.

Similarly enough, the shutdown under the Clinton administration involved a Democratic president defending his program, while a Republican majority in Congress sought to defund it.

The primary reason for these squabbles and shutdowns? An unwillingness to compromise.

In this more recent case, specifically with regard to the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA).

The House of Representatives passed a bill that included the defunding of the AHA, while the Senate passed a bill that kept it funded.

Being arguably the most controversial pieces of legislation under President Obama’s administration, it really comes as no surprise that no compromise was reached, given the current political culture on the hill. But it is rather unfortunate that the act of compromise has become a lost art.

Although the military and law enforcement will continue to operate, social security checks will be mailed, and veterans hospitals will stay open, other government functions and their websites will be closed. The short list includes, The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and national parks and museums.

Government employees deemed “non-essential” will be furloughed, while “essential” employees as well as active-service military members will continue to be paid.

Perhaps you’ve felt the nuisance of the shutdown when attempting to access government run-websites. Or maybe you know someone who traveled across the country, or even across the ocean to visit a national site only to find it closed.

Or maybe you’ve heard of Bo Macan, a local three-year old who doctors believe to have a rare immune system disorder. According to an article on Fox 4 News, the doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital need blood-tests conducted by a government-lab at the National Institutes of Health to confirm and begin treatment.

Bo will have to wait more than the general two-weeks to receive life-saving results.

Well no worries. Congress is working tirelessly to get these government services and facilities back up and running just as soon as possible… right?

Wrong.

Both sides have continued the bickering and finger-pointing that got us in this mess in the first place. Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. And on and on it continues.

Remember, since they’re “essential” they will still be getting paid.

Regardless of political affiliation, it’s safe to say that enough is enough.

Partisanship never works. Ever. Government is only able to function efficiently if there is compromise, a word that seemingly is only thrown around when one party is bashing the other, as opposed to being acted upon.

Just as your boss expects you to do your job, the same should be said about your elected official. And like it or not, it is the responsibility of Congress to seek out middle ground through negotiations.

The entire reason Congress exists is to operate for the people who gave them their job in the first place. Their failure to serve the American people is not only irresponsible, but selfish.

It’s time for both parties to stop the political games and get to work.

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