Barack Obama is not acting like the president of the United States, he is acting like a schoolyard bully. He called John Boehner to basically tell him that he doesn't want to talk. Then he held a press conference yesterday where he essentially said the same thing, while throwing around loose barbs about the GOP. As insulting as this is to Republicans in Washington, Obama's insistence on maximizing the pain has now impacted our soldiers in an inexcusable way.
Last week Obama went to great lengths to make sure that our veterans were unable to visit the World War II memorial in Washington. He sent out guards and set up barriers to prevent these 90 year old men who risked their lives for this country from visiting an open-air memorial in their honor. It was a despicable display of disrespect.
Now, during the shutdown we had Congress vote overwhelmingly to pass the Pay Our Military Act to ensure that those sacrificing for our country are properly compensated. But now we are getting reports that the families of fallen soldiers are being denied benefits! For example, families of fallen soldiers are being told that they will not be compensated for their travel in order to be there when the bodies of their loved ones arrive in the states. Additionally, families will not receive the $100,000 payment they are owed within three days of the death of a loved one. This is an absolute disgrace. We are told that the reason this is happening, even after this bill passed, is because lawyers from the DOJ, the Pentagon and reportedly the White House are interpreting the language of the bill as only appropriating money to service men and women but not their families. So because some government lawyers, including White House lawyers, have interpreted the bill this way, these families are out of luck.
This is an outrage! This is not how our soldiers and their families deserved to be treated, ever. Yet this is another example of how the Obama administration is able to maximize the pain in order to score political points. In this case, he is using soldiers and their grieving families as the pawns in his political chess game with Congress.
The House is expected to take up this issue today. Meanwhile, the Fisher House Foundation has stepped up and offered to pay for these families, since our government is unwilling to do so. Those impacted directly by this decision are the families of 25-year-old 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno; 24-year-old Pfc. Cody J. Patterson; 24-year-old Special Agent Joseph M. Peters; 25-year-old Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins; and 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Jeremiah M. Collins, Jr. We will pray for their families and are heart-broken that they have been put in this position.
So is there any end in sight to this Obama-Reid shutdown? Not really. As I said in the beginning, Obama's willingness to talk goes about as far as this: “I'm not willing to negotiate.” Then he tosses some decisive language towards the Republicans and then waits for them to cave. Obama calls them “extremists.” I hate to tell you, Mr. President, but these “extremists” are the only ones listening to the American people and standing up for them! If that makes them “extreme,” so be it. Though I do not think the American people would see it that way.
The unwillingness to even TALK to Republicans about their ideas has Americans frustrated. It's time that these people sit down like adults and negotiate. Get some things done. The Republicans have offered four plans when it comes to this government shutdown: Defund ObamaCare but fund the rest of the government, delay ObamaCare but fund the rest of the government, get rid of Congressional subsidies but fund the rest of the government or simply talk to Republicans in a conference committee. None of these plans will even be discussed by Democrats in Washington. Republicans in the House have gone on to pass bill after bill funding various parts of the government, but the Senate refuses to even touch these funding bills. It's all or nothing. Meanwhile, we are left with stories like this …
Not funding the families of fallen soldiers is the most outrageous story of today. Couple that with the fact that the Army this week had the money to purchase a mechanical bull for $47,000, and it becomes even more infuriating. What a thumb in the eye. What misplaced priorities.
Reducing the backlog of disability and pension claims for the Department of Veterans Affairs has been stopped because of the shutdown. Another thumb in the eye for those who have honorably served our country. Meanwhile the VA bought $1 million in television ad buys during the shutdown. Again, misplaced priorities.
We have Catholic priests who have been banned from celebrating Mass on military bases because they are not allowed to work during the shutdown. The House has voted to fund this, but the Senate refuses.
They've closed national parks, monuments, beaches, and they've even tried to close the ocean. Here are some of the most recent outrageous encounters during this shutdown:
So we have the Park Service arguably spending more time denying people entry to parks than then would if we just let people roam at their own risk. Yesterday we saw another outrageous example of hypocrisy when an immigration rally was allowed to held in the supposedly closed National Mall. The rally was complete with a stage and pora potties, yet the WWII memorial was closed for our veterans?