To the editor:
This is the issue in the problem of the federal government shutdown: America does not pay ransoms; America does not negotiate with terrorists, and America should not submit to extortion, including the kind now being attempted by the congressional Republicans. To give in on any of these issues would only assure more kidnapping, terrorism or extortion in the future.
The attempt of the Republicans in the House to hold the continuing funding of the government as a bargaining chip to force legislation that they want is not like the usual congressional horse trading in which two or more legislators trade support for each other’s bills. Rather, this action by the House Republicans is holding as hostage virtually the whole operation of the U.S. government, services important to millions of Americans and the economic prosperity of the nation, an attempt to achieve a goal that they could not achieve by the ordinary processes of legislation. One would only expect this kind of action from some enemy power, not from the representatives who are presumed to be working in the interest of the American people.
President Obama and the congressional Democrats cannot accede in any way to the Republican demands or the nation will be subject to an unending repetition of such attempts at extortion every time there is a question of a resolution to continue government funding or to increase the debt ceiling. The president should make it clear to the Republicans that negotiation or compromise cannot be considered.