Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Time to end irrational crusade, shutdown

RECOMMENDED READING


This is how absurd the government shutdown has become. The House over the weekend voted unanimously to guarantee federal workers will be paid for all of the time they are off because of this manufactured crisis. That would be the House controlled by Republicans who triggered the shutdown and claim to be the standard-bearers of fiscal responsibility. The only way out of this irrational battle in Washington is for voters from both political parties to demand an end to it.

Federal workers are collateral damage in this debacle. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been sent home without pay, forcing the closure of national parks and museums and affecting services such as processing federally secured home mortgages and running some Head Start programs for low-income children. The pain was reduced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's decision to return to work most of the Pentagon's 350,000 furloughed civilian workers, including more than 1,500 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

But promising to pay people not to work illustrates the fatal flaw in the Republicans' position. They moved to shut down the government by refusing to agree to a spending plan unless it guts the Affordable Care Act — and now can't defend the consequences of such recklessness. This week, House Republicans are expected to pass a series of bills to keep money flowing for programs like Head Start and border security to quiet their critics. This is a stalling tactic that President Barack Obama and the Senate should reject, and the focus should be on passing a clean spending bill to reopen all of the government and on raising the debt ceiling to avoid triggering a real economic crisis.

Fortunately, reasonable Republicans are raising their voices and declaring they are prepared to end a stalemate they will not win. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, explains in a column in today's Tampa Bay Times that he remains opposed to the Affordable Care Act but is ready to vote for a one-year spending plan without poison bills for health care reform. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, says he has told House Speaker John Boehner it is time to end the stalemate and vote on a clean spending bill. Those are reasonable positions, and Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, and Richard Nugent, R-Spring Hill, should be taking that approach as well.

The loud tea party minority in the Republican Party should not be allowed to hold the nation hostage. The stalemate has become more about saving face for tea party supporters than having any hope the president will bend on health care reform. Boehner insists there are not enough Republicans prepared to join Democrats to approve a clean spending bill, but independent counts suggest he's wrong. There probably are at least five Florida Republicans who would vote to end the stalemate. There aren't another 15 reasonable House Republicans in the rest of the country?

The Republicans have made their opposition to health care reform clear. They couldn't stop it in Congress. They couldn't stop it in the courts. They couldn't elect their presidential candidate who promised to repeal it. They won't persuade the president and the Senate to derail it. Now it is time to move on, end the budget stalemate and stop promising to pay government workers not to work.

Comments

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nationís budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more ó s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise ó for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system ó one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Krisemanís own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17