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October 17, 2013



Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. today said, “With 90 minutes to spare before the nation defaulted on it debts - for the first time in history - Congress raised the debt ceiling and reopened the government with a vote of 285-to-144.  But before you celebrate be reminded that 144 neo-Confederate Republicans voted to send the country off a financial cliff and to keep the Federal Government closed.  Yet in the midst of all this chaos the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law and continues the attempt to enroll up to 50 million Americans without health care insurance. “Republicans in the House had already voted 42 times to repeal the ACA without success.  So after losing the policy debate in Congress and the political election in 2012, where the ACA was a major issue, they decided to try anundemocratic tactic – take the American people hostage and demand a ransom before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling or reopen the government. “The original demand was to repeal the ACA, but then the ransom changed as the shutdown continued.  From press reports we know that the ransom price evolved from ending the ACA to defunding the ACA; delaying the ACA, delaying the individual mandate of the ACA as the President had done for some businesses; force the President and the VP to enroll in the ACA; force his cabinet to enroll in the ACA; force congressional staffers into the ACA – which amounted to cutting the salaries of their own staffs even as members of Congress continued to receive their full salaries during the shutdown; deny birth control coverage to women; approve the Keystone pipeline; demand entitlement reforms, including means testing for Medicaid, paying more for Medicare and adjust the CPI in Social Security to reduce payments to seniors; change federal employee pensions; expand oil drilling, block net neutrality, demand tort reform, weaken regulations for coal-powered power plants; reform the tax code; repeal the medical device tax; and change the rules so the Secretary of the Treasury would have less flexibility in case they threaten not to raise the debt ceiling again.  What was the net result of these evolving extortion demands?  Nothing.  These neo-Confederate Republicans got nothing for their stick-up and shutdown! “But what price did the American people pay?  What did the American people lose?  The American economy lost $24 billion, the budget deficit and debt will be greater, the economy will be slowed and jobs will be lost.  Over 800,000 Federal workers were furloughed – even though some had to work without pay – and struggled to pay house notes and keep their children in school, and the American people lost their service.  Children with cancer were denied care at the National Institutes of Health.  Fishermen could get licenses.  Mothers with small children receiving help through the WIC program were denied vital nutritional assistance.  Small businesses lost customers and struggled to stay open.  Food went uninspected which threatened American’s health.  Airplane travel was more risky.  The EPA and the National Weather Bureau couldn’t do their jobs appropriately - and much more. “In other words, the American people got the shaft and the 16-day insurrection conducted by these nihilists resulted in nothing beneficial for the American people - and could have been avoided. “The bipartisan votes needed to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government operating were there before the current crisis occurred.  One man – Speaker John Boehner – was out to protect his job for fear that the neo-Confederate Republicans in his party would conduct a coup and oust him from his Speakership.  That is putting your job and your party above the American people and the national interest and that is the opposite of statesmanship,” Jackson concluded.