WASHINGTON, D.C. – With all apologies to Shakespeare we note that two households, both alike in dignity, in Washington, D.C., is where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil strife makes political hands unclean.
And, we should add, turns out the lights on the government because lawmakers couldn’t agree on a budget.
President Obama: “This shutdown is not about deficits, it’s not about budgets. This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it.”
In an 11th hour proposal, the House asked for negotiators from both chambers to meet in conference, but Senate Democrats said no way.
“My goodness, they won’t even sit down and have a discussion about this,” complained House speaker John Boehner. To which, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded, “We will be happy to sit down and talk with them but we’re not going to do it with a gun to the heads of the American people.”
At least they agreed the people protecting our country should get paid. President Obama signed the ‘Pay Our Military Act’ late Monday night.
But, in another of Washington’s political ironies, members of the military can’t visit the World War II memorial because it’s closed.
That didn’t stop some old warriors who broke through the barricades to pay their respects to fallen brothers in arms.
Also closed are national parks, museums, and the national zoo.
And NASA observed its 55th birthday, by pulling the plug on its TV channel and putting nearly 97% of its employees and contractors on furlough.
President Obama will still draw a check, but more than 1200 White House workers along with most congressional staffers have to stay home.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of the architects of this fiasco, says he will donate his salary to charity during the shutdown.
In the meantime, as Shakespeare wrote: ‘All are punished.’