On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act took effect. The law was passed by the 111th Congress in 2010 and upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court.
To protest the Affordable Care Act, which is admittedly deeply flawed, the House of Representatives voted 41 times to defund the law before it was finally implemented Tuesday — none of those votes ever passed the Senate.
Now, members of this 113th Congress have decided that the best way to send a message about their displeasure with the process is to deny government services to the American people.
The Defense Logistics Agency San Joaquin in Tracy employs 1,200 civilian employees. Women, Infants and Children, a supplemental nutrition program funded by federal money, serves more than 1,000 people a month from the office at 73 E. 10th St.
It is a sad irony that lawmakers are trying to save the American people from government intrusion into their health by denying the American people jobs, benefits many families sorely need and even access to historical and commemorative public landmarks. A group of American veterans went so far as to overturn barriers erected around the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington when they wanted to visit the site Tuesday.
In fact, the American people are the only ones blameless in this mess.
Rather than working to amend the Affordable Care Act and address its flaws, House Republicans are claiming to uphold the Constitution by raging against a law passed and upheld by every branch of government prescribed by the Constitution.
House Democrats, who lay claim to an historical representation of sticking up for the little guy, want President Barack Obama to take a hard line against the GOP rather than negotiate to end the shutdown and its impact on the people.
The president is buying into the politics of looking tough. He not only failed to find a way to avert this situation before it happened but then waited almost two days after the government shutdown at midnight Tuesday to even meet with congressional leaders.
Whatever your politics, the men and women we elected to represent us are now willing to sacrifice our needs for their political aims. Whatever cable news pundits on every network will say after this is all over, there are no winners in this situation.
The Affordable Care Act is now law. It has been deemed constitutionally sound. The finger-pointing at who is to blame, pyrrhic protesting, smug claims of being poor losers and overall politicking for the sake of politics must stop before the American people are really hurt.
If Congress and President Obama want to help us, they should work together to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act. If they cannot do even that much, they should at least stop making our lives more difficult.