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Looming Government Shutdown Reveals House Leadership’s Fiscal Irresponsibility and Willingness

Rep. John Conyers – Dean, Congressional Black Caucus Posted: 04/ 5/11 05:42 PM ET

Based on their absolute refusal to compromise on the Federal budget, Tea Party adherents in the Republican party will force the government to shutdown at the end of Friday. Just last week, Tea Party Republicans traveled to the Nation’s capital to urge the House Republican Majority not to compromise with Democrats in funding the government. Unfortunately, out of fear of alienating their Tea Party friends, House Republican leadership appears to lack the political will to put the interests of our country first.

While Tea Party Republicans insist on hard-line calls for fiscal responsibility and many other House Republicans demand social policy provisions, the impact of their actions reveals their fiscal irresponsibility and willingness to put other Americans at risk. Hopefully history will not repeat itself.

As demonstrated by the five-day government shutdown in November 1995 during the House Republican majority, American taxpayers lost an estimated $750 million, according to ABC News. The processing of Social Security and Medicare checks was delayed. Other adverse consequences of the shutdown, as reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, included:

* Veterans being deprived of multiple services, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceasing disease surveillance.

* Delays occurring in the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

* 368 National Park Service sites, national museums, and monuments were forced to close, resulting in a loss of 9 million visitors. This, in turn, reduced tourism revenues to local communities.

* Up to 30,000 applications by foreigners for visas and 200,000 U.S. applications for passports were not processed. As a result, U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses, according to Congressional Research Service.

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