Since my post last week, the only thing that appears to have happened is that the concrete encasing progress has gotten harder. There is no shortage of moving parts in this drama, but allow me to focus on one issue: why Speaker Boehner won’t allow a vote on reopening the government. Earlier in the week President Obama suggested that there were enough votes in the House of Representatives to end the budget standoff. Two days ago, on October 9th, CNN agreed with this. They reported that all 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans would vote to reopen the government without conditions. That’s a simple majority and would allow the Senate to pass it and President Obama to sign it.
But the speaker won’t call a vote. Why not? OK, I can’t read the heart of another person and I’m hesitant to assign motives without knowing the reason, but let me suggest this: Speaker Boehner won’t call a vote because he knows it will reopen the government and cost him his role as Speaker of the House. There is good reason to believe that if the government reopens because of this vote, there will be enough Republicans angry with him that they will replace him as speaker.
Really? This is all about one man afraid to lose his position? And not even his job? No matter what happens he will remain the representative of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District. If he loses his position as speaker he will lose a sweet office and lots of prestige, but nothing else.
I write this against the backdrop of tragic news: On October 6th, San Diego (and all of us) lost Captain Jennifer Moreno, a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.
Jennifer embodied the best of what it means to be an American. She chose both nursing and the United States Army because she wanted to serve. When she joined the army she (and everyone she loved) knew this day may happen despite their fervent prayers.
What nobody expected was that the $100,000 death benefit promised to her family would be delayed because of the government shutdown. Normally the family receives this benefit within 36 hours to allow them enough money to travel to Dover, Delaware to claim, transport, and bury their loved one. Fortunately Fisher House, a charity that supports military families, will cover the expenses.
Meanwhile, the government continues to be shut down because a guy from Ohio is afraid to lose his title.