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Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

October 22, 2013
 
Dear Mr. Bedenko,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent lapse in government funding.  I appreciate hearing from you. 

On October 1, President Obama chose to shutdown the government, despite four different measures by the House to keep the government open and fully funded, which I wholeheartedly supported.  This occurred – as it has 17 times before since 1972 – as a result of the failure to pass a federal budget by the end of the fiscal year. 

The federal budget is made up of 12 appropriations bills that fit within the topline budget number laid out by both the House and Senate.  While the House has passed a budget blueprint along with many of these appropriations bills, the Senate had failed to act.  The only action the Senate has taken has been in passing a topline budget number – and they did this for the first time in four years after the House tied congressional pay to actual results in passing a budget blueprint.

It is the primary responsibility of the President and Congress to pass a budget. This process is critical in ensuring the federal government lives within it means. Instead, however, Congress has continued to kick the can down the road numerous times by passing continuing resolutions that do nothing to get our fiscal house in order. 

With a $700 billion a year spending deficit that is adding to our nearly $17 trillion national debt, we cannot keep relying on continuing resolutions to keep the government funded.  We need to make tough decisions and muster the political courage to avoid adding billions more to a credit card bill our children and grandchildren will be left to pay. That is why I opposed the Continuing Appropriations Act for 2013 (H.R. 2775), because it failed to structurally balance our budget.

I understand the difficult nature of the shutdown and voted to avoid it.  The House voted on four different continuing resolutions that included provisions that would have helped alleviate the enormous tab our government is leaving behind for future generations.  I even supported 16 separate continuing resolutions to reopen certain functions of the federal government that are critical to the welfare of this nation.  However, the President and the Senate on multiple occasions ignored these pieces of legislation and numerous offers to sit down at the table and work out a deal that would end the shutdown and avoid a debt crunch.  They chose not to act for two whole weeks and waited to negotiate until the final days of when the U.S. Treasury needed an extension on its borrowing authority.

During the shutdown, I committed to not taking a salary because it was the right thing to do.  I introduced the Government Shutdown Fairness Act that would withhold the salaries of Members of Congress during any future shutdown.  As a private sector businessman, I know firsthand that running a successful company means leading by example and making sacrifices to keep the company going.  I cannot remember the number of times I had to forego a paycheck to make sure my employees and vendors got paid, and the company stayed afloat. Members of Congress need to do the same.

America has a significant and dangerous spending problem.  The President and the Senate need to recognize this and get serious about finding a long-term solution that will put us on a fiscally responsible track while growing our economy.  I was not elected to Congress to continue the status quo, I was elected to fix serious problems that threaten future generations from obtaining the American Dream. 

I appreciate you contacting my office regarding issues important to you and your family.  I hope you will consider signing up for my newsletter at www.chriscollins.house.gov to stay up to date on the critical issues facing our country.

Sincerely, 
 

 

 

CHRIS COLLINS

Member of Congress

The Nihilist Sound and Fury of Chris Collins

There isn’t any way to sugarcoat it. Republican Representative Chris Collins (NY-27) voted last night to maintain the shutdown of the federal government, and to risk the United States’ first-ever default on its sovereign debt. His behavior during this crisis has been striking for its patronizing cynicism, backbencher grandstanding, and nihilist sound & fury. 

Below is a collection of almost every Tweet sent from Collins’ account, starting the week before the shutdown through Wednesday morning. It tracks nicely with the general rudderless cluelessness of the Republican shutdown of 2013. 

When Chris Collins followed along and voted to shut the government and risk default over Obamacare, he and his cohorts effectively stole $24 billion from the U.S. Economy. In the midst of a slow recovery from the 2008 global financial meltdown and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Collins helped to slow GDP growth this quarter from an estimated 2.6% to 2%. For all his concern-trolling about “small business”, this is inexcusably irresponsible. 

And for what? Look at the chart above. As they stumbled and bumbled through this standoff that Senator Ted Cruz orchestrated for them, the Republicans made wild and crazy demands of the Democrats and the President – DO THIS or the shutdown will continue and we’ll flirt with default on debt that the US has already incurred – Iraq War, Bush tax cuts, Afghanistan war, bank bailouts, stimulus – existing debt. They got none of it. 

Frankly, they bought their own bullshit about what a weak negotiator Obama is; what weaklings the Democrats are. They’ll cave. They have no resolve. But instead, cooler heads prevailed and a deal was struck to do everything that Obama wanted and nothing that the tea party wanted – reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling, and then we’ll talk. This was the deal that the Senate passed overwhelmingly last night; that the House passed overwhelmingly last night. That margin, to me, is the difference between realistic representatives who are in Washington to do right by the country – who put people and the good of the nation over partisanship – and the reactionary ideologues who make up the secessionist America-last bloc. The latter is the group to which Collins firmly belongs. 

The tragedy of it is that he would plunge an already weak economy into unprecedented chaos; that he chose to stab the wound more instead of placing a Band-Aid on it. But it gets worse: 

That’s from Facebook, but this is what he told the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski: 

“The bottom line is, I didn’t come here to kick the can,” said Collins, who was elected to Congress last year. “This doesn’t deal with any of our entitlement spending. It doesn’t change the trajectory of our deficit, which is $700 billion a year. And therefore I can’t support it, and I’m going to vote no,” he said before Wednesday night’s 285-144 vote to approve the legislation.

Entitlement spending. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The 27th may be packed with Republicans thanks to gerrymandering, but it’s also packed with seniors who rely on Medicare and Social Security (there’s lots of rural poverty, too, so don’t think there aren’t plenty of Medicaid recipients, as well). When you examine the Tweets below, you’ll note that Collins considers Medicare and Social Security (at least) to be “essential services”. Which ones does he want to cut? By how much? What barriers does he want to place between seniors and their entitlements? Means testing? Changing the age of eligibility? 

The continuing resolution passed Wednesday night is, by the way, a continuing of a Democratic cave to the Republicans – it contains the sequester cuts, which Democrats vehemently oppose. The spending is already significantly lower than the Democrats wanted – even lower than what Paul Ryan originally proposed. It is so spartan that it was supposed to be the fallback position so politically unpalatable to both sides that it would act as an incentive for everyone to work out a compromise. 

So, Chris Collins – this self-appointed champion of small business over people, wants to: 

  • Abolish Obamacare, ensuring the continuation of the third-world insurance status quo we had in 2007, which means medical bankruptcies, lifetime maximums, less coverage for more money, profit motive to prevent people from getting care they need, and coming between people and their doctors; 
  • Reduce spending on “entitlements” on which seniors rely, like Medicare and Social Security; 
  • Risk the country defaulting on already-incurred sovereign debt – something that has never before happened and which every responsible economist has warned would be a catastrophe for people and businesses throughout the world; 
  • Maintain the government shutdown; 
  • Do real, palpable harm to his constituents in order to score political points against the President. 

Collins isn’t one of the moderate Republicans that reflect the New York GOP – he is a nihilist who would just as soon have his district secede from the nation to escape the duly elected clutches of OBAMAPELOSI. He wants to destroy America over a law that Congress passed, the President signed, and the Supreme Court upheld, which helps Americans get affordable, quality health insurance. Whatever harm Collins thinks Obamacare is doing to the country, it pales in comparison to what default would do, and he voted to default, voted to keep the government closed, and voted to slow economic growth. Chris Collins is an utter trainwreck.