On October 9, 2013 Rep. Earl Blumenauer “asked for and was granted permission to rail against the Republicans in the House of Representatives for there ridiculous antics of shutting down the government and their incredible disconnect with the American people.
Mr. Speaker, today is the ninth day of the Republican shutdown, what started as a tantrum against the Affordable Care Act to defund it, then morphed into a demand to delay it for a year, but now is really an open assault on our system of government.”
“Unless a fanatic minority holding John Boehner and the American people hostage get their way, they will continue to inflict unnecessary pain on hundreds of thousands of our employees and on the American public. Now they are poised to wreck the global economy by threatening that America will not pay its bills. If it works, they will do it all over again. Make no mistake, this is an assault on our system of government unlike anything we have seen before. We must stop them now, united in the belief that there are some lines we are not going to cross. There will be no weapons on the floor of the House and no willful damage to the American people”, he said.
“What if these fanatics had their tactics used against them? What if Democrats and Speaker Pelosi demanded that the disastrous war in Iraq stop and, if it didn’t, we would wreck the American economy? that our deeply felt concerns about preparing for climate change and global warming were nonnegotiable? What if Senator Chris Murphy, who had 26 innocent children and their teachers massacred in his district, what if he said, Enough. Unless we get background checks for purchasers of guns to make sure that unfit people can’t get them, something that 90 percent of the American people agree with, unless I get that, I am going to shut down the government? Can you imagine the howls of outrage? There is a tremendous disconnect here”, said Blumenauer, clearly upset at this point.
“One glaring symbol of the disconnect can be found in the subbasement of the Rayburn office building, the House gym. Now, make no mistake, everywhere I have worked I have started fitness programs for our employees. They save money; they improve productivity; they can even save lives. I helped start a fitness program for our employees here on Capitol Hill. If anything, it may be more important for people in Congress who are leading a crazy, unhealthy lifestyle and can seldom get together and interact like human beings. For 17 years, this is where I have tried to start every single day, to exercise, to enjoy bipartisan camaraderie, an island in the storm of Capitol Hill”, he said.
“It is convenient to be able to shower there instead of at home. It is important. It is very important, but it is not essential. I had somebody argue with me yesterday that it doesn’t cost that much because we pay dues. We have an access key that lets us in and there aren’t any staff members there now. Well, that is true. It doesn’t cost very much, but it costs. The electricity, the hot water, the towels, they are not provided by gym fairies. They are provided by taxpayers. And the same is true for countless facilities across America, closed by the senseless Republican shutdown”, said Rep. Blumenauer (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).