Printed letters, October 24, 2013

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Gary Yeager (“Neither party shows intent to follow the Constitution”) apparently did not have the benefit of the Sentinel’s previous and more informed editorial (“’Compromise’ shouldn’t be dirty word in politics”, October 16, 2013), which rejects the central tenet of the “Tea Party’s” perversion of “constitutional principles” – i.e., no compromise.

Despite paying obligatory lip-service to Yeager’s false equivalency between the parties, the Sentinel aptly noted that – in crafting H.R. 2775 ending the “government shutdown” (until January 15, 2014) and averting “debt limit” default (until February 13, 2014)—Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) repudiated the “uncompromising and unrealistic members of his party” (which heretofore included 3rd C.D. Representative Scott Tipton), whose irresponsible antics wasted at least $24 billion.

For his troubles, McConnell obtained an additional $2 billion for his home state – funding a dam and locks project on the lower Ohio River.

Similarly, Colorado’s Democratic Senators Bennet and Udall – working behind-the-scenes—garnered an additional $350 million “earmarked” for Colorado flood relief, along with $636 million for nationwide wildland fire suppression activities.
As the AP reported (“Congress narrowly avoids default”), Hal Rogers (R-Ky), House Appropriations Committee Chairman (and the only GOP House member to speak in favor of the bill), emerged as the lone Republican voice of sanity.  Contrary to his intransigent ideological colleagues, Rogers (like Democrats) insists that current “sequestration” spending levels are far below what are actually needed to run the government. 

However, the lengthiest – and perhaps procedurally most significant – section of the bill is the “Default Prevention Act of 2013”, which codifies McConnell’s 2011 proposal to avoid the next “debt ceiling” crisis by authorizing the President (until February 7, 2014)  to unilaterally “suspend” (raise) the statutory debt ceiling, subject to Congressional acquiescence or rejection. 
Tipton – apparently persuaded by growing calls for his resignation—voted “AYE”.

Lee Cassin’s gratitude to Scott Tipton (“Rep. Tipton deserves thanks for voting to end shutdown”) is misplaced.  Rather, as Gary Harmon’s report (“Tipton:  Senate, Obama must negotiate now”, October 18) implied, Tipton still seeks to befuddle his gullible loyalists and evade “personal responsibility” for his actions.

Since 2011, Tipton has enthusiastically supported Republicans’ efforts to “deny President Obama a second term” and sabotage his presidency by effecting “gridlock”.  As widely reported, that cynical “strategy” has cost our economy some $300 billion and 900,000 jobs.  “Heckuva job, Scotty!”

On October 1, 2013, Tipton voted for the anti-democratic rule change that guaranteed a prolonged shutdown.  Only when local economic impacts within the 3rd Congressional District prompted calls for his resignation did Tipton vote for H.R. 2775 – ending the shutdown and averting default, but only after those 16 days of shutdown had already cost the national economy (i.e., wasted) at least $24 billion. 

From March 23, 2013 (when the Senate passed a budget resolution differing from the House version, thereby requiring a conference committee) through September 30, 2013,  Speaker Boehner – on twenty separate occasions—refused to appoint conferees, while Senate Republicans filibustered Majority Leader Reid’s appointments.  Thus, for six months, House Republicans “refused to negotiate” – fecklessly hoping to extort the repeal of ObamaCare by threatening shutdown and/or default. 

On October 1, 2013, with the shutdown then underway, Boehner finally appointed House conferees and staged a laughable “photo op” with an empty conference table – because, as President Obama warned for two years and Leader Reid confirmed, Democrats rightly “refused to negotiate during a shutdown” and/or under threat of default.

On October 16, 2013, H.R. 2775 effectively required what Republicans had previously refused to do – “negotiate” and resolve budgetary differences by December 13, 2013.

Thus, Tipton persistently proves just how contemptibly low his “intellectual high ground” really is.

Lee Casin wants us to thank Rep Tipton for ending the shutdown..but we first need to understand it was something Rep Tipton voted to ensure happened. Something he voted to ensure ended only when the narrow stroke of a particular conservative ideology was satisfied.
    Section two (2) of H. Res 368, a Republican rules change submitted at 11:30 pm 9-30 and passed by 1:11 am 10-1, about 1 1/2 hours. Short and sweet. Section two (2) reads: “Any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.”
    Clause 4 of (House) rule XXII: “A motion to dispose of House bills with Senate amendments not requiring consideration in the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union shall be privileged”...this meant the House had to vote on H.J. Res. 59.  H Res 368 made this clause, pursuant to H.J. Res 59 only, a resolution that would have funded the Government and ended the shutdown, unenforceable.
    When Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), not the Majority leader (Eric Cantor) or his “designee”, tried to get H.J. Res 59 back on the House floor to end the shutdown using Clause 4,rule XXII, he was informed by the acting Speaker, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), H. Res 368 sec 2 supersedes clause 4 of rule XXII. The shutdown continued…ensured because of this rule change jammed through in the wee hours of the morning before the shutdown even began.
  Rep Tipton voted along party lines to pass H Res 368.
    Can’t find myself slapping him on the back for ending something he helped initiate and ensure continued.

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