OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Protesters in Kansas City say they want to hold Republicans responsible for partially shutting down the federal government. The protest started this morning outside of Congressman Kevin Yoder’s office in downtown Overland Park.
Some of Yoder’s constituents say they blame him for helping shut down the government at great expense and causing headaches for those who need government services.
The people marching say Republicans are trying to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which they claim would deny health care to 30-million people. Protesters say that goal does not justify partially shutting down the federal government.
Congressman Yoder is one of a growing number of Congressional representatives who are asking that their pay be withheld during the partial government shutdown.
But the U.S. Constitution mandates that all members of Congress be paid their full salaries every year they’re in office. Members of the House and Senate make $174,000 a year, money they are all going to get eventually regardless of how long this impasse lasts.
Some in Congress are promising to donate their pay to charities, but political scientists say those who work for government or rely on government services that are not currently available may see the Congressional pay issue as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
“They are doing little things,” said Lloyd Hellman of Overland Park, one of the protesters. “They’re opening a gate here or there, they are saying they don’t want to take their pay. They’re trying to do little junk. When what we have is a law passed and they are insisting on breaking that law.”
President Obama claims there are enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass a bill to reopen all government operations. He blames House speaker John Boehner for not allowing a vote. Boehner has said Republicans want the president to negotiate delaying or cutting funding for the Affordable Care Act before government operations are restored.
Both Democrats and Republicans know that failure to raise the debt limit by October 17th could trigger a financial crisis much worse than we experienced in 2008. The Treasury Department is warning that credit markets could freeze, the dollar would plummet in value and interest rates could skyrocket if no action is taken.