Letter: Capitulation Isn’t Negotiation
To the Editor:
In the Oct. 8 Forum letter from Raymond V. Maurice, “Don’t Blame the Republicans,” the writer parrots the popular GOP/Fox News talking point that, “Obama will negotiate with (fill in the blank: Putin, Assad, Iran) but refuses to negotiate with Republicans.”
Oh, please! Republicans (or at least those Tea Partiers currently holding the party hostage) don’t want negotiation. They want capitulation. For the past several years, the Republican position has been clear: Demand compromise from the Democrats, but refuse to negotiate if negotiation means possibly having to give something up. For their most recent spectacle, they demanded that the Democrats negotiate over something not open to compromise — the Affordable Care Act, passed by both houses of Congress in 2009, enacted in 2010, and upheld last year by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court.
Maurice contends, “Republicans want to discuss what might or might not work and make changes accordingly.” That might be a reasonable position, but that is not what the Republicans are doing. Republicans are not interested in discussing how best to implement the law. Ever since they gained control of the House in 2010, they have been obsessed with trying to repeal, defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. Unable to do so — despite many attempts and countless wasted hours and taxpayer money — they finally resorted to extortion by tying continued funding of the federal government to eliminating funding for, or postponing implementation of, the Affordable Care Act.
All President Obama and the Democrats were calling for was a straightforward vote on funding the government. There was no room to negotiate on that. Now, as a result of the GOP throwing a hissyfit and shutting down the federal government when they didn’t get their way, 800,000 federal workers are out of work, millions of veterans may not receive benefits, Head Start programs are closed, and 9 million mothers and babies dependent on the WIC supplemental-nutrition program are at risk. Is this really what responsible Republicans elected their leaders to do?