Republicans Hold Government Hostage to Divisive Social Agenda

For Immediate Release:

April 8, 2011

Democrats have offered on the House Floor five times a clean continuing resolution to keep the government open as negotiations on a full year continuing resolution continue. So far, even though Democrats have gone 70 percent of the way to Republicans’ position, Republicans refuse to compromise on their divisive social agenda. As a result, Republicans are risking a shutdown that will harm the economy and negatively impact Americans.

A government shutdown will set back our economic recovery:

Bloomberg:

“‘The economic damage would mount pretty quickly,’ in a two- or three-week shutdown, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. ‘The longer this drags on, the greater the odds it undermines confidence more broadly.’ The direct costs of lost income to federal workers and contractors would be about $6 billion a week, said Zandi. ‘The dollars and cents would start to add up.’”

“On a national scale, a big concern is the potential that a shutdown would further erode business confidence ‘at a time when a lot of companies and investors have inventory and cash that could help accelerate the recovery,’ said Mike McNamara, a former Commerce Department economist who is now a partner specializing in public policy at SNR Denton law firm in Washington. The international community also will 'look at this and say ‘What’s happening in the United States?' he said.”

“The Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association representing corporations, said in a statement that ‘a shutdown would have negative and unforeseen consequences, including heightening uncertainty and disrupting basic business services to government agencies.’” [4/8/11]

CQ:

“While business groups are generally not shy about throwing their lot in with one party or another, the current impasse has many of them abandoning typical allegiances and calling for a truce… For GOP lawmakers — many of whom are traditional business allies — that sets up a potentially difficult dynamic: Stick to their demands for deep spending cuts and controversial policy riders, and risk a shutdown, or compromise with Democrats, in accordance with industry wishes.”

"In the event of a shutdown, the Small Business Administration would not guarantee loans for business working capital, real estate investment or job creation activities, according to an Office of Management and Budget memo. Also, individuals filing paper tax returns would not receive tax refunds from the IRS… Under a shutdown, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would not be able to back any single-family mortgage loans or have staff available to process and approve new multifamily loans.” [4/7/11]

Politico:

“‘Uncertainty is generally bad for the housing market right now,’ said Sarah Wartell, executive vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress and a former FHA official. ‘Anything that slows down the processing and creates more delay is an economic negative.’"

“Former FHA administrator Brian Montgomery said that a shutdown simply ‘would mean that FHA can’t endorse or insure any loans.’ Those mortgage loans are a big factor in the recovering economy. ‘If FHA was no longer able to endorse mortgages, that would have a profound impact on the housing market,’ said Montgomery.” [4/6/11]

NY Times:

“When the government shut down for 20 days in late 1995, the nation’s economic growth was slowed by as much as a full percentage point in that quarter, according to James F. O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global. [4/7/11]

Orlando Sentinel:

"The Obama administration warned Wednesday that even a brief shutdown could pinch the economic recovery. They pointed in particular to potential delays in processing small-business and Federal Housing Administration loans —crucial components to Florida's ability to spark growth and bolster a battered housing market. ‘If it lasts, the impact would be monumental,’ said Pat Hance, a realtor in Fort Lauderdale. ‘Not only would it hurt people waiting for loans, but it would stop other people from looking. We don't need another kick.’ The impact of a shutdown would be felt far and wide.” [4/6/11]

And will have a negative impact on Americans across the country:

NY Times:

“Among the people anxiously waiting to hear if Congress can reach a budget deal are front desk clerks at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, manufacturing executives whose companies supply goods to federal agencies, bank loan officers who make mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration and Wall Street analysts who depend on a steady flow of government data.”

“At the national parks, many of the hotels and restaurants are operated by private concerns that will most likely suspend some workers if the parks are closed. Without their weekly paychecks, those employees could tighten their belts, causing further fallout for grocery stores or other retailers who may see sales slow… In Yosemite, for example, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts operates four hotels with 972 rooms and 13 restaurants. A company spokeswoman, Lisa Cesaro, said that if the shutdown continued beyond the weekend, all lodging and food operations would close, and workers would be forced to take vacation time or unpaid leave, right as peak season was starting.” [4/7/11]

Washington Post:

“The potential for a shutdown created anxiety for at least one family in the process of getting a loan from the Federal Housing Administration, which would stop during a shutdown. Gregory Wahl, a foreign affairs officer for the State Department, is scheduled to close April 22 on an FHA loan to rehab a house in Silver Spring. But the seller, eager to have the work done quickly, put into the paperwork a penalty clause of $300 a day if the closing happens after that day. ‘I honestly didn’t think it would get to this point,” Wahl said. ‘I’m nervous…’”

“Among other things, officials said Thursday, the Mine Safety and Health Administration would not be able to conduct regular safety and health inspections. Passport services would be limited. And veterans benefits support services would be suspended. Volcano and earthquake monitoring would continue, though, as well as National Weather Service alerts and forecasts.” [4/8/11]

House Republicans are holding the government hostage over divisive social policies regarding women’s reproductive rights. If Republicans had their way, they would cut funding for essential Planned Parenthood health centers, which serve three million men and women across the country.

Planned Parenthood is a Title X health care provider, with 84 independent local affiliates that operate more than 800 health centers throughout the United States. Sixty percent of women who access care from family planning health centers like Planned Parenthood consider those centers to be their main source of health care.

Over 90% of the health services offered at Planned Parenthood are preventive care. Every year, Planned Parenthood provides:

  • Almost one million Pap tests
  • Over 830,000 breast exams
  • More than 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  • Education programs for nearly 1.2 million people

Planned Parenthood also offers reproductive health services, providing nearly 2.5 million patients with contraception that prevents more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year.

Only three percent of all Planned Parenthood services are abortion services, and current law forbids the use of Title X dollars in the provision of these services.

Prominent Republicans agree that the House GOP shouldn’t hold government hostage to this social policy debate:

Sen. Tom Coburn: “And my recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it’s highly unlikely many riders are going to get passed with a [Democratic] president and Democrat senate so why don’t you take the spending and let’s get on to the budget.” [MSNBC “Dylan Ratigan” 4/6/11].

Sen. Pat Toomey: “Both sides need to understand that nobody has complete control of the elected government. Neither side is going to get everything they'd like. I'd like to defund Planned Parenthood but I understand Republicans don't have complete control of the elected government. So, I think what we should do is cut spending as much as we can, get the policy changes we can, but move on because there are other bigger battles we ought to be fighting… we need to recognize we can't dictate all the terms, aggressively get everything we can and move on. i think the debt limit is a bigger more important fight we ought to be focusing on right now and not wasting all this time over what is by comparison a relatively small matter” [MSNBC “Morning Joe” 4/8/11].

Gov. Mitch Daniels: “I think probably, as a general rule, it is better practice (to) do the people’s business, try to concentrate on making ends meet, which Washington obviously has failed to do for a long time, and have other policy debates in other places if you can” [ NBC “Meet the Press” 3/13/11].

But while Republicans hold out on a compromise over social policy riders and risk a government shutdown, our troops and their families pay the price. Democrats have offered a clean continuing resolution multiple times on the House Floor that could become law and ensure troops get paid.

CNN:

“… [Military mom] Emily [O’Donnell fears she won't be able to pay the mortgage if there's a shutdown. She won't be able to afford medication or specialists for her daughter, who has chronic ear infections. And if she uses up the $1,000 in her bank account, ‘my plan is a food kitchen.’”

“Lena Bourrillion is one of those who would feel the lost paycheck immediately. She works at a dialysis center, and her husband is an army sergeant… With two kids and three dogs, Bourrillion says they will have to ask family to borrow money or get a high-interest loan from a bank.”

“‘Living a military life it doesn't really give you the option to put away money,’ agrees Amy Tersigni, whose husband is currently serving in Iraq. ‘You don't get to put reserve because you live paycheck to paycheck. You pay your rent, you pay your bills, you feed your kids and that's it. You don't have extra,’ she said.”

“‘Right now its 6:00 a.m., I have been awake since midnight,’ said O'Donnell. ‘I've been wondering how I'm going to feed the four little people that are asleep right now, not aware of how soon their whole lives could be ruined. My husband is deployed. The last thing he needs is to be wondering how his family is going to put food on the table.’”

“‘We sacrifice enough already,’ said Erica Roach, whose husband serves in the Navy. She says that if his paycheck is delayed, she'll have to choose between paying the bills and putting food on the table for her two children.” [4/8/11]

CBS News:

“The Pentagon said Friday [it] will not pay the $100,000 death benefit to the families of members of the military killed in the line of duty if the government shuts down.”

“Families of fallen service members would get the money after the government reopens. But as CBS News' national security correspondent David Martin points out, the $100,000 payment is usually paid immediately to help cover a funeral and other extraordinary expenses.”

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates told troops Friday this week that ‘my wife and I, when I was your age, we lived paycheck to paycheck and not getting a paycheck can be some - can lead to some pretty severe disruption in your life whether it's missing a car payment or rent or something else.’” [4/8/11]

Our troops deserve better and Republicans are starting to see through House GOP tactics to push through their divisive social policy agenda at the expense of our troops:

CBS News:

Rep. Allen West: “Tea Party-affiliated Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida is out with a statement in which he says he is ‘disgusted at the perception that Leaders in my own Party...are now using the men and women in uniform" to pass a short-term budget bill… 'the House Majority has now placed the funding for the Department of Defense and the funding for the troops down as a bargaining chip,’ he writes. ‘In the last 100 days, the House Majority could have passed at any point in time a separate stand alone Appropriations for the Department of Defense and the funding for our men and women in uniform.’” [4/7/11]

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