Congress, president failing us miserably
We the people are being failed and ignored more and more each day by our own government. There is not one person or group to blame; the fault for the current state of this nation, namely the shutdown, lies with President Barack Obama, the Democrats, Republicans and the Tea Party.
Wednesday, four American soldiers returned from Afghanistan in coffins. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the American people – including the people in Congress.
To show its gratitude, the government withheld the $100,000 ‘death gratuity’ entitled to those soldiers’ families. That money is, in most cases, immediately given to families of those killed in action so funeral or emergency travel arrangements can be made, and to tide survivors like spouses and children over until death benefits begin.
As of press time Wednesday afternoon, the House had rushed legislation that would restore the gratuity benefit. But, according to MSNBC, some members of Congress were “surprised that (the death gratuity) is not covered by a law passed just before the shutdown that authorized ‘pay and allowances’ for the military.” That raises two questions: Did those “surprised” members not read the law? And were some members aware the death gratuity had been frozen, yet did not raise their voices?
When the idea of a shutdown was looming, the biggest concern in this country seemed to be that national parks and museums would be closed. Now we are seeing the true costs the people of this country are paying because the president and members of Congress are having a face-off: people are working but receiving no pay; grieving families of soldiers are being denied their rightful benefits; struggling families who depend on food assistance programs are waiting for their funds to run out. The list is endless.
Even children’s education is suffering. Seven Head Start programs in areas as nearby as Mississippi and Alabama were supposed to receive their federal funds on Oct. 1 but due to the shutdown, they had to close. Thankfully, two Texas billionaires offered $10 million to keep the programs running until the end of this month.
Still, six more programs in other areas might have to close by next Friday.
Head Start not only helps to educate young children from low-income families. It also gives them access to important medical services and even services such as speech therapy that they might not be able to receive elsewhere.
Cattle farmers in South Dakota have been abandoned, as well. A surprise snowstorm slammed the state last Thursday, killing about 75,000 cattle. The Stock Growers Association there estimated that 15-20 percent of all cattle in the state died during the storm. Some ranchers lost half or more of their herds.
The Farm Bill could help those farmers; unfortunately, Congress still has not passed a Farm Bill, and even if they had, the shutdown would still prevent any assistance from being issued.
All parties involved would like the public to believe that it is one group or one person holding the nation “hostage” with careless demands. The truth is, all of Congress and even the president have failed to do their jobs.
And even though they are not doing the jobs they swore to do, they are still collecting paychecks while the families of four heroes had to scramble to find a way to meet flag-draped coffins at Dover Air Force Base.
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