Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Dangerous game of D.C. chicken

It's going to be a long weekend in Washington. The Senate approved a temporary spending plan Friday, but conservative House Republicans are continuing to threaten to shut down the government Tuesday unless money for the Affordable Care Act is cut. It is a dangerous game of chicken that could disrupt the lives of millions of Americans, and Florida Republicans should rise above it.

Sen. Marco Rubio did not set a good example Friday. He predictably voted against the temporary spending plan, which passed 54-44 along party lines. More revealing is that before that vote, Rubio joined the most extreme members of his party to vote against cutting off debate and allowing the drama to play out. Rubio and his fellow tea party allies were on the losing end of a 79-19 vote, as the Senate Republican leadership voted with Democrats in a rebuke of the extremists. Floridians deserve more responsible leadership.

Barring an unexpected reality check, the only clear way to avoid a government shutdown on Tuesday is for reasonable House Republicans to join with Democrats to approve the temporary spending bill. Tampa Bay Republicans Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, Richard Nugent of Spring Hill, Dennis Ross of Lakeland and C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores have a decision to make.

Do they want to stick with the tea party fringe, or do they want to avoid delaying paychecks for those serving in the military at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and around the world?

Do they want to make a political point to conservatives, or do they want to avoid a delay in processing applications for Social Security and Medicare?

Do they want Congress to stop functioning, or do they want to keep open national parks and keep paying government contractors?

The only thing worse than this avoidable stalemate is the one coming up over raising the debt ceiling. The federal government is expected to hit the ceiling around Oct. 17, when it would run out of money to pay for expenses already approved unless it can borrow more money. President Barack Obama said Friday that would be worse than a government shutdown, and he made clear he will not negotiate. A laundry list of predictable Republican demands, from derailing the Affordable Care Act to dropping regulations on greenhouse gases, are nonstarters. And as Obama noted, raising the debt limit is about keeping the government running and not about partisan politics.

"That's not doing a favor for me,'' the president said.

This is government by artificial crisis, and Floridians who depend on federal programs from Social Security and Medicare to federally guaranteed home loans are the casualties. There are still enough reasonable Republicans in Washington who want to serve their constituents, keep the government functioning and avoid roiling the fragile economy. Rubio made it clear again Friday he is not one of them. Whether there are any left in Florida's House delegation will become clearer in the next few days.

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Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18