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Letter: Shutdown was telling

We should be grateful to both political parties and both houses of Congress for the clarity that their government shutdown brought to the political scene.

We all watched the political machinations and vested self-interest by power-addicted long-serving men and women, and the extreme positions bruited by ideologues refusing to acknowledge logic or consequences as they sought political advantage.

Constitutional amendments should limit terms in the House and Senate and require them to remain in session continuously during the last 45 days of the fiscal year until a budget bill is passed. (Note that the House decided to take the rest of this week off while the government is on a continuing resolution.)

Congress should not be able to exempt itself from the provisions of any law. Witness the way they have been protecting themselves from sexual harassment suits and insider stock trading. During the shutdown, their pay continues when other government employees do not get paid. Typically the average federal employee is paid retroactively after a shutdown, costing the taxpayer billions of dollars. To offset some of the fiscal impact caused by their failure to do their job, Congress and their staff should not be paid during a shutdown or retroactively after the shutdown.

To maintain services, a constitutional amendment should allow the president to automatically continue services when the fiscal year lapses without a budget. The president, who touted himself as the great dealmaker, and his key staff appear to have been rejecting previous agreements in order to maintain the chaos levels and manipulate the situation to support their extremism. Now the president is bragging that, rather than a compromise for the country’s benefit, the Democrats “caved.” That is clearly not the statesmanship we deserve but is the ranting of an insecure ideologue.

— Richard Sorensen

Salisbury

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