I have seen the comments by our District 1 Representative in the House of Congress, Jeff Miller, about how the dysfunction in Washington should be held responsible for the recent government shutdown of Veterans' Services across the country. I agree with him.
Mr. Miller went on to say “the ball is in the Senate's court where those services are concerned because the House has passed two bills, now over 125 days old, that would put the VA up and running.” That is also an irrefutable fact. One problem exists with Mr. Miller's reasoning though. If he has always been so intent on funding the VA, then why did he vote for a spending bill he knew would cause a shutdown leading to the ensuing catastrophe?
It seems the House had a contingency plan over the past year to build up to the shutdown with a handful of Republican House members admitting as much on networks across the nation. Was Mr. Miller part of this plot to shut down the government? I believe the pre-hashed VA bills are proof that he was. He is also not on the list of congressmen in the House who ultimately signed a "clean bill,” ending the shutdown. Mr. Miller voted NO on the bill that ultimately opened the government back up.
Thousands of people in his own district were furloughed — people with families, homes, bills to pay and food to buy, and even though Mr. Miller, along with some of his constituents, sent a letter asking for furloughed employees to be put back to work, this was all after the fact as if they were slowly regaining consciousness and becoming aware of the nightmare reality they created for Americans.
Meanwhile, a food borne illness outbreak converged on the country, including Florida, and the FDA was not on the job. The CDC halted work on a deadly bacterium that had already killed one person in our area. They shuttered their doors and went home, closing their flu program at the beginning of flu season. The EPA halted cleanup efforts on hundreds of hazardous sites throughout the nation.
And while the consensus of local agencies is that approximately 20 percent of residents in this area are without health insurance, Mr. Miller joined his Republican cohorts in Washington to waste over $50 million fighting The Affordable Care Act with the counter clicking off $24 billion more squandered for the shutdown, besides the incalculable costs.
All of the aforementioned affect Mr. Miller’s district. This is more than a VA problem.
To express concern for veterans is commendable, but it flies in the face of individuals and families that suffered significant hardship, faced unnecessary dangers, and ignores the bigger shutdown picture. Squandering taxpayer money is not the answer to the problem of fiscal responsibility!
Crying foul after the fact for a problem you took part in causing is not acceptable. Expecting one side to cave in to these barbaric tactics is unreasonable and sets a dangerous precedent for future negotiations.
Holding a nation hostage while the details of measure after measure to undo each piece of that reckless action was hashed out in bipartisan bickering is just mortifying. If Mr. Miller's leadership is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people, this was a poor execution of that responsibility.
Mr. Miller was willing to put the health and welfare of the people he represents on the line for his own agenda. Term limits are a good idea too.
Perhaps 12 years has made Mr. Miller too comfortable in running his own agenda in Washington, consequently not staying in touch with the needs of the people he was elected to represent. The citizens of District 1 should remember that when the primaries and midterms come around next year.
Susan Moll-Ault is a resident of Santa Rosa Beach.