Weekly Letter: Shutdowners

I try to avoid using my platform as County Executive to comment on decisions made by members of the United States Congress. But this week I must make an exception.

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I try to avoid using my platform as County Executive to comment on decisions made by members of the United States Congress. But this week I must make an exception.

Anne Arundel County dodged a bullet. Had Kevin McCarthy continued refusing to put a resolution before the House to keep our government running while budget debates proceeded, tens of thousands of county residents who put food on the table for their families would be without paychecks, and our most vulnerable families would be without WIC and SNAP benefits. 

With a shutdown looming, we had asked all county departments to identify resources that they could provide to these families, and we were preparing the outreach needed to protect our economy and our kids. We were preparing for a disaster, a disaster that would have been deliberately perpetrated by people who have sworn to serve, just as we did in December 2018 when many of those same people shut down the government because they wanted more money to build a wall between us and our Mexican neighbors.

This time the shutdowners, 90 in the House and 9 in the Senate, couldn’t even agree on what they wanted. Some demanded major cuts to all federal programs, some demanded more money for border security, and the ones on Team Putin wanted to end support for Ukraine’s defense. 

They say they want to drain the swamp once and for all by starving our government, and they’re being told to do it by a former President who grew our national debt by $7.8 trillion. 

I’ve been reading a book recently about the history of the Republican Party, the party that was founded on the idea that economic opportunity should be available equally to all Americans. I don’t recognize those principles in the people who voted no on extending tax credits for struggling families with children. I don’t even think the people trying to shut down the federal government should be described as conservatives. You can’t conserve what you destroy, and they want to destroy what our forefathers fought wars to create. 

Kevin McCarthy sacrificed his title for our country. He deserves credit for that, but it’s only a start. The only way forward in the House is a leader who repudiates the shutdowners and pledges to serve the supermajority that actually wants to govern, from both political parties. Whether that is Kevin McCarthy, Hakeem Jeffries, or someone else is irrelevant. What matters to Anne Arundel County, to Maryland, and to all the people of this nation is that we honor and respect the institutions that exist to serve our people: the laws, the federal agencies, and all three branches of government. A bipartisan majority in Congress exists to do just that. 

Let’s support elevating someone to Speaker of the House who will lead that majority. That’s how we can shut down the shutdowners before they shut down our country.

Steuart Pittman
Anne Arundel County Executive