Tag Archives: government shutdown

Sarah Palin storms the gates

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin followed the crowd and the cameras to appear at a protest in D.C. at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday, where the crowd pushed past barriers to protest the memorial’s closing under the government shutdown.

Prior to the rally, she met with some of the architects of the government shutdown: Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

It’s unclear what they talked about, but it was unlikely that they discussed how the Veterans Affairs Department has furloughed almost 8,000 employees, half of whom are veterans. Or how they should do all that they can to open up the government so that servicemen can get their disability payments on time.

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf has more to say on the subject:

[E]ven when the federal government is functioning normally, it fails to adequately care for the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who are suffering from high rates of suicide, PTSD, and joblessness, in large part due to the wars of choice they were asked to fight and that conservatives, who are still allied with a faction of hawks urging even more wars of choice, overwhelmingly backed.

This, it probably goes without saying, will not change by storming the barriers to a monument in D.C.

Here’s Palin’s speech in full:

We were proud to stand with thousands of America’s vets and other patriotic Americans today in Washington, D.C. This morning, Todd and I met with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and they joined us and other Americans at the World War II Memorial and then at the Lincoln Memorial, where we were met by a SWAT team in full riot gear! Watching those who have fought to protect freedom prevented by barricades from visiting these memorials to freedom was truly heart wrenching. Seeing the unity of the American people as they joined together and rose up against this out of touch government was an inspiration. God bless our veterans, those who continue to serve, and their families.

I’ll be posting an album of some photos from today. Below are the brief remarks I gave today:

We’re here to show that the size of America’s heart for our veterans is immeasurable! But look around – barricades to shut down our memorials? Is this how a Commander in Chief expresses his gratitude? This “shutdown” priority proves a shameful lack of respect. It reflects a person’s lack of valor.

But, Vets, We the People have learned from you! We know America will only remain the “Home of the Free” so long as we are the “Home of the Brave!”

So, as we honor you, U.S. Military, know that our gratitude will not sleep! We will be brave! You were not timid, so we shall not be timid in calling out ANY who heart-wrenchingly would use you as pawns in a political game.

America’s finest paid the price for our freedom today. Vets, you protected us from tyranny then. Rest now, it is OUR turn to protect against tyranny again.

Ronald Reagan said, “Some people live an entire lifetime wondering if they ever made a difference in the world.” YOU, vets, need never ask that of yourselves. You made ALL the difference!

Our war memorials remind us of the cost to keep us free. YOU paid the price! Rest now! We will pick up the mantle. We won’t let you down. We now take up the fight for freedom!

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Government shutdown: Begich has harsh words for Republicans

Senate race fightIn a wide ranging telephonic town hall meeting on Wednesday evening, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich answered questions from Alaskans across the state about the government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act, the debt ceiling, and the effects all of this has on Alaska.

Begich has clashed in the past with Democrats. However, on the shutdown, he’s sticking with his party and he had harsh words for Republicans on Wednesday. “All the gimmicks are coming from the other side,” he said. “These are the kind of shenanigans that Alaskans and Americans all across the country are fed up with.”

The shutdown is in its third day. Federal employees all across the country are furloughed. Veterans’ benefits are being held up, so are checks for those applying for Social Security and disability. According to J.P. Morgan analysts, furloughs will reduce national income by a total of $1.3 billion per week. As a result, the shutdown could shave 0.12 percent off fourth quarter GDP growth for each week it goes on.

Why? Because House Republicans want to defund or delay the onset of the Affordable Care Act as a condition of allowing a budget bill to pass.

To be more specific, an increasingly shrinking number of House Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, won’t allow a bill on the House floor that would separate funding for the Affordable Care Act from the rest of the budget.

If allowed, such a bill, or a “clean continuing resolution,” would likely pass with the support of more centrist Republicans and those who are up for reelection in more moderate districts.

Begich urged callers to email and call the rest of the congressional delegation to push to get a bill on the floor, particularly Rep. Don Young. He indicated that Young might vote for such a measure, but hasn’t yet said so publicly.

Young was unavailable for comment late on Wednesday evening. In response to a question about whether or not Young would vote for a budget absent conditions on the health care bill, Young’s spokesperson Mike Anderson said that there hasn’t been such a bill yet offered. However, in response to a question about the shutdown on Wednesday afternoon, Young told reporters that if it were up to the Alaska delegation, the crisis would be averted.

Begich also spent time busting a myth: neither Begich, nor any member of Congress get exemptions from signing up for insurance through the exchanges. In fact , he said, they are the only employees in the country who are actually required to get their insurance through the exchanges.

The federal exchange website has been overwhelmed and glitches have been widely reported. One caller expressed frustration over the glitches. Begich said that he too experienced problems when he tried to sign up.

Unlike many other states, Parnell opted to allow the federal government to create the exchange for the state. Had Alaska chosen to create its own exchange, like Washington state did, there would likely be fewer issues, Begich said.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


How much is the shutdown costing the country?

From the Washington Post: 

“In a research note Tuesday, J.P. Morgan analysts estimated that federal furloughs will reduce national income by a total of $1.3 billion per week. As a result, the shutdown could shave 0.12 percent off fourth quarter GDP growth for each week it goes on. That forecast doesn’t account for any knock-on effects on the private sector or dent in economic confidence, which are harder to quantify. All that lost income could be recouped if Congress later agrees to give those 770,000 furloughed federal workers back pay. But for now, that’s very much uncertain. Republicans in Congress are split on whether to agree to retroactive pay to workers who get furloughed.”


Begich holds fast with Democrats over shutdown

chess moveSince being elected in 2008, Sen. Mark Begich has often bumped heads with his Democratic Senate colleagues. He did so over gun control, for one. He’s repeatedly voted against environmental issues that Democrats have pushed for.

But now, he’s holding fast and true with his fellow Democrats who are blaming Republicans for shutting the federal government down over the funding of the Affordable Care Act, an act, it should be noted, that Congress passed, has been litigated up to the Supreme court, and has gone through an election cycle.

It’s also something that Alaskans are against, by and large, for now at least.

So why is Begich, who’s up for a tough reelection in 2014 sticking with the Dems on this? Principle no doubt plays into it. He likely truly believes that Republican entrenchment on this is wrong for the country. But Begich is nothing if not a political animal. He has one of the best political noses in the state, and the political winds he’s smelling are telling him that this one is a winner.

I couldn’t find anybody who’s polled on the shutdown in Alaska, but feelings here aren’t likely radically different than feelings across the country: no matter how much people object to the health care law, they have consistently told pollsters that they are not in favor of tying government operations to defunding the law. Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake probably put it best when he said, “Obamacare is not popular, but we’ve managed to find the one thing that’s less popular than Obamacare.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who’s running for Begich’s seat, believes otherwise, apparently. He has said that if he were elected, he would “stand” with those Republican senators most entrenched, senators that even Republican stalwarts like John McCain and Richard Burr, to name just a few, believe have gone too far.

He’s since walked some of that back, maybe, although it’s been hard figure out exactly where he stands. Indeed, Roll Call writer Stu Rothenberg, who interviewed four Republican Senate candidates about the shutdown, said that among all of them, Mead was the most “difficult to pin down.”

Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, who is also running, is not difficult to pin down. He’d fight to end the health care law for as long as they’d have him in the Senate.

Former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, Dan Sullivan, who has for weeks dithered about running, may be the smartest of the three. He’s not answering questions about the mess. He doesn’t have to. For now, he’s a private citizen dithering away like the rest of us. And by the time he might have to, the worst will likely be over, and he’ll get to play statesman.

Begich is holding a telephonic town hall on the government shutdown on Wednesday evening. Expect strong words from him about entrenched Republicans. It’s a winner and he knows it.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.ccom 


Government shutdown: Treadwell aligns with Joe Miller and Sarah Palin

On her Facebook page, former Gov. Sarah Palin is making light of the potential for a government shutdown, a possibility that appears more and more possible by the hour. She posted a “funny” list of all the possible negative impacts of a shutdown. “If the government shuts down, who will, “block responsible resource development, spy on me, waste my money…” she posted. The list goes on. Sarah Palin has made millions since quitting her job as governor in 2010.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is running for the U.S. Senate, also appears to support a shutdown. He called those who were trying to do so “courageous,” and said that if he were a senator, he would “stand” with those who were advocating such a move. Joe Miller, the other candidate running in the Republican primary, also supports those who are advocating a shutdown.

Miller’s financial situation is hazy. Treadwell makes $135,000 as lieutenant governor. He makes as much as $200,000 a year in addition to his salary from investments and other income. In Anchorage, his assessed property values total more than $2 million.

In other words, both Treadwell and Palin can afford a government shutdown. They are doing fine and will continue to do so, regardless of whether the government stays open for business. Those who don’t have those resources that these two have will be the ones who are hurt: many of those “proud men and women” wearing our country’s uniform, the elderly, the disabled, those who are trying to build their retirement accounts. The stock market has already lost value in the last two days, and will likely continue to fall if the government shuts down. It will also likely push up interest rates.

Alaska’s congressional delegation, Sens. Mark Begich, Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, all are trying to avoid the shutdown and the mess that could result. Young for one, has lived through one and didn’t like the experience. Murkowski said a shutdown would put the government in “total disarray.”

Here’s just a few of some of the possible effects that it might have on Alaskans:

Unlike Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell is not known as a true believer. But he does appear to believe that advocating for those who are supporting a shutdown will peel off Miller supporters. He can afford to gamble on such a position, financially at least. It’s likely a stupid political move, however. Those thousands of Alaskans who are going to feel the effects are likely going to make him pay at the voting booth. And Miller’s people are nothing if not good at spotting panderers and apostates.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com