Let’s not forget the ‘other’ issue

Oct. 03, 2013 @ 04:52 AM

While the media remains fixated on the latest toils and tribulations in Washington, D.C., there is one thing being overlooked.

At least to a slight degree.

While Republicans and Democrats continue to be at issue over the current partial government shutdown, we are just a few weeks away from reliving an issue resurrected from January.

This, of course, is the nation’s debt ceiling.

And while compromise is required to settle the latest government side-show, it is even more necessary when it comes to the nation’s credit.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress that unless lawmakers act in time, the nation will run out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17, according to a report by the Associated Press.

It means there won’t be any more money.

That looms as a much larger issue than the shutdown that has impacted 800,000 federal employees and closed national parks — including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smoky Mountains — and monuments.

And, if the latest bickering surrounding the shutdown is any indication, the American people can expect greater Washington gridlock in weeks to come.

The issue of raising what is called the “debt ceiling” or the amount of money the federal government can borrow to pay its bills, was once a routine gesture of Congress. Now, it has become mired in political partisanship.

A solution offered by the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House is for both sides to approve a temporary funding measure to end the shutdown and an increase in the federal debt limit “while other political differences are worked out.”

“That would be a responsible way to go,” Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland told CNN, in a story by the AP.

That may be but the chances of House Republicans going for that are nil.

Thirty percent of federal government employees are currently furloughed, national parks and monuments are closed and the nation is heading towards an unprecedented default on its financial responsibilities.

All the while, members of Congress are still getting paychecks to do, in our view, nothing more than point fingers and bicker back and forth.

Perhaps the solution is to halt the pay of Congress until both issues are resolved, even temporarily.

Maybe then the American people will see Congressional leaders stop the political games and do what we expect them to do … what is best for the entire country … not just what they believe is best in line with political ideology.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.