While all the nation is roiling against Congress, against their shutdown of the government, amidst bipartisan turmoil, a few Congressional misdeeds have added insult to injury. The shutdown, which hinges in part on the Republican gambit to hold out for a delay in Obamacare, has meanwhile furloughed 800,000 federal employees. Furthermore, if Congress doesn’t decide to raise its debt ceiling by the 17th, the U.S. could default on its debt, a debacle that is predicted to throw the nation, if not the world, into a bigger recession than that of 2008.
This is why it made few people smile that the World War II Memorial was used as a focus point by members of Congress, many Republican, to show up and make speeches to the media regarding the very shutdown they instated. Veterans had been barred from the memorial, but defied the order to keep it closed and broke in. Furthermore, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) had the audacity to tell off a park ranger who was attempting to control the crowd, when she was only doing her job.
A similar insult to decency involved Republicans showing up at the National Institute of Health where they donned lab coats and pleaded with Democrats to refund services to children with cancer.
“Let us help people. Let us help children. Please,” said Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), whose son has a rare neurogenetic disorder, and as reported by the Huffington Post.
And meanwhile, though they have cut off the jobs of hundreds of thousands, some insist they themselves should get paid. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said his house is too nice to give up his $174,000 salary.
“I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college, and I’ll tell you we cannot handle it,” he said to the Omaha World-Herald. “Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s not going to fly.” But he later changed his mind.
Nevertheless, congress decided that their gym was among the “essential services” that needed to be retained amidst the furloughs. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to keep the congressional gym open, with its swimming pool, basketball courts, sauna, steam room, and TVs, because they were after all necessary for government relaxation.
One congressman, Rep. Bruce Bradley (D-Iowa) did point out the sacrifice Congress has had to make regarding this:
“There’s hardly anybody working down there. There’s no towel service, we’re doing our own laundry down there.”