Opinion: Shutdowns and showdowns

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

The federal government shutdown is over, at least for now. This lull before the next budget deadline is a good time to reflect on recent events. Does the president really have an appetite for putting 800,000 federal workers through that financial trauma again? Does he really want to again halt essential functions rendered by FBI agents and air traffic controllers, persons running national parks or those dispensing critical human services to the needy?

Some years ago, when budget delays were common in New York State for lack of an agreement between the legislature and the governor, the state at that time enacted a policy whereby legislators would not be paid until the budget was passed. This was done both in the hopes of spurring agreements as well as punishment for negligent and tardy behavior. So here is an idea:

Come February 15, if there is no budget in place in Washington D.C. and hostages need to be taken, have the members of the executive branch of government, including the president, vice president, the cabinet and their staffs go without their pay until the issues are resolved. And do the same with all members of Congress and their staffs. Whether elected officials are paid bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or once a year, it is legal.

Rumor has it that there is legislation to do just that which is actually being proposed in the House of Representatives. Good. Let them put their money where their mouth is.

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Second Women’s March packs streets on Saturday

Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Thousands of women came out to support the #MeToo movement this weekend in the second annual Women’s March, taking place a year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Protests took place across the country, with 200,000 people coming out in New York, according to the mayor’s office, and upwards of 600,000 people in Los Angeles, as well as protests in Washington, D.C. and Palm Beach, Florida, not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

This year’s March in New York spread from at least West 72nd Street on Central Park West, the official starting point, down to Columbus Circle, but police at the event near Lincoln Center on Saturday afternoon said that there were also entry points at West 86th Street. Downtown A, C and D trains were bypassing the 72nd Street stop around 1 p.m. due to crowd conditions. Signs at the March this year focused on sexual harassment and abortion rights, as well as immigration issues and the recent government shutdown.

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Maloney: Government shutdown would hurt economy and it’s all GOP’s fault

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday at noon, after the government was technically shut down for two days, the Senate agreed to end the stalemate over a spending bill, with the Congress expected to follow, according to multiple reports.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been in Washington, where she spent the weekend prepping for the Monday vote.

Earlier that morning, the representative of Manhattan’s East Side spoke with Town & Village on how government shutdowns hurt the economy, and why she, like other Democrats, blame Republicans for the mess (who in turn blame Democrats).

Reached on the phone at around 10 a.m., Maloney said, “Right now we are trying to get the government open again. You have to continue funding it.”

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Reckoning in Congress

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

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Steven Sanders

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King has never been one to mince words. Over the weekend he charged that some of his fellow Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives were behaving like “political terrorists” and literally threatening to damage the United States and our economy if they cannot get their way in delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare.”

Representative King has hit the nail on the head.

A small group of right wing and Tea Party affiliated Republicans in Congress have shut down the federal government and could possibly devalue the credit worthiness of the U.S. dollar if they cannot achieve by threats and extortion what they failed to win by legislation and that is to derail the new health care law which they loathe. It is hard to know whether they hate the law or despise the President more, but that is what they are doing.

Don’t get me wrong, any member of Congress or any citizen for that matter has every right to oppose a policy they disagree with and they have every right to dislike anyone that they choose. However, what is terribly disturbing and destructive is that after having lost their fight against Obamacare in the votes in Congress and in the vote from the last Presidential election, and after the law was upheld by the United State Supreme Court, these right wing militants have decided to put the entire United States economy in jeopardy lest the President and the majority of the House and the Senate give in to their extortion. This brand of extreme politics and blind “no compromise ideology” is common in the Middle East, but it is something new to American political discourse. It is fundamentalism practiced in a three-piece suit.

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