House GOP puts politics over kids and families, leads to government shutdown


by Colleen Flaherty

Due to a small faction of the GOP obsessed with defunding the Affordable Care Act at all costs, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to pass a bipartisan Continuing Resolution, which led to a federal government shutdown.

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“It should never have come to this. Once more, the refusal of the far right House Republicans to compromise has ended badly for the American people, with the federal government shutting down for the first time since 1996,” said NEA President and Arizona teacher Dennis Van Roekel.

Now, with the House GOP refusal to compromise, the federal government has been shut down for the first time in 17 years, impacting even more services that are already reeling from sequester cuts. The shutdown will result in 800,000 federal workers furloughed, and if the shutdown should continue, programs for students and low-income families will continue to suffer. Access to national parks and museums, resources for field trips, will be among the casualties.  And still, compromise over ending the reckless cuts triggered by the sequester, remains elusive.

“The refusal to compromise also means a continuation of harmful sequester cuts. Millions of students—especially those with the greatest needs—will pay the price for years to come if the harmful sequester cuts to education continue. Already 57,000 children have lost access to Head Start.  Due to the government shutdown, 19,000 additional children will lose access to these critical services that will help them succeed in life. Congress must reverse this austerity course, invest in our children’s education and get America moving again,” said Van Roekel.


“They must end their obsession with stopping the Affordable Care Act that helps millions of children with preexisting conditions receive healthcare coverage. It is ironic that the opponents of the ACA have shut down the government the very same day that enrollment in the ACA is beginning – the shutdown is not preventing that from happening. It is simply causing more pain to American families and our economy.

“Our students, and our country deserve better. It is time to put students and the American people ahead of uncompromising, partisan politics.”


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Reader Comments

  1. I am a Conservative Republican and a loyal member of my state’s Education Association for 4 years now, I’m my school Local president, I sit on one of the committees of the state association, and currently running for NEA Director. I’m getting very disturbed at all the lashing out against Republicans. Listen, there are those on both sides of the aisle that don’t know their head from a hole in the ground, but that doesn’t mean that we need to be going around and bashing them because of their political beliefs and ideas. We are all educators and our first and foremost priority should be the students that we teach, not who to blame when things don’t seem to be going the way we want them to or the way we think they should be going. Has Obamacare not gone as anyone on the Democrat side thought it would? No, It’s not made things more affordable, and in fact news (tv and radio) have reported that Obama’s biggest supporters (Unions) have been hit the hardest and are now expressing their dissatisfaction. I’ve personally not likes how things have been done from the beginning, but I’ve given Obama the benefit of a doubt. But after the first four years, I was very surprised he was even re-elected, but he was, so as I’ve been a soldier in our country’s armed forces, I am loyal to the office of the President, regardless of who’s in it (and both sides have not had winner’s lately and I’m not afraid to admit the faults of my party’s leaders) There’s not been a perfect person who’s lived on this Earth since Jesus Christ, and all are going to make mistakes!!! But we’ve got to quit playing all these partisan games, for what ever reason, and begin to do what our founding fathers did, put the betterment of our country ahead of themselves. A beloved President said once to the American people, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”!!! We’ve got to stop expecting things from people and government and get out there and be the change our country needs to make it great once more, and that is NEVER going to happen if people cannot stop bickering and complaining about the other side. Those in government need to remember the reason why they are truly there in Washington D.C., and that’s to do what’s in the best interest for America, not what’s in the best interest for themselves or extremists in their party!!!

    1. Your party should not matter; you should be espousing and voting for those issues and candidates who are public education friendly..

  2. Actually, I wish we were a union. Unfortunately, as the acronym implies, National Education Association is not a union. No where is that more clearly understood than in North Carolina. Unlike the states that do collect union dues, NC’s NEA members pay dues that include no collective bargaining rights. Since only a fraction of teachers voluntarily pay these dues, we are clearly no more of a union than is the NRA. That being the case, one only need look at the bottom ranking of NC teacher pay and per student spending to understand what not having collective bargaining rights has cost us.

  3. I have not heard that silly argument about NEA being an association, not a union since I started teaching in 1968. We ARE a UNION that defends kids as well as teachers. I am 68 years old and have been a proud and active NEA member all of my professional life. As for the “socialist propaganda” comment, that pretty much sums up the position of a Tea Party ideologue.

    1. Im always curious when I hear UNION members talk about defending “children”. Defend them from what? Their parents? Their government? They sure aren’t worried about sticking them with 16 trillion in debt. They aren’t worried about an illegal alien taking their job when they finish school. The NEA says get informed about the Affordable Care Act! Did they inform you that in 2018 you will be paying a 40% tax on your “Cadillac Health Care plan? I think not. It will be interesting to see if proud and active NEA members like Mr Naughton sign up and pay the 40% or scramble like rats for retirement. If a 20 hour work week becomes “full time” as some predict Federal employees and teachers will be the rich. Will you still support taxing the rich? 40% tax! Do you have your exemption?

  4. The government shutdown is not only an embarrassment to the American people, it is tragic! As a super power, we set a devasting blow not only to our nation, but to the whole world economic order. We have the ACA as the law of the land. Governors and legislators who have shown such opposition after the fact, should be impeached for not following the law that can benefit their constituents, and legislators acting in the same way should be voted out of office. Holding the government and this nation hostage over their zealous thinking and extremeism should be a mute point. Life goes on. We must do what we have to, to make government work cooperatively and efficiently. This Congress should be fired!!!

  5. I am so disappointed in our elected officials’ ability to work together to find common goals. Your pettiness appalls me. As a teacher, I work so hard to help children learn to communicate with one another, respect and appreciate each other’s differences and come to compromises that values each other. There is no way that I can point to the past few weeks in our national government to show my students real life example of these values. Truly, my 5th graders are doing a better job of listening to each other, finding common ground and reaching compromise than our elected representatives.

    Grow up and show us some models we would like our children to emulate.

    1. I can see that your heart is in the right place, but you are making the mistake of holding Democrats and Republicans equally responsible. That is the road that has been taken by the mainstream media. You need to dig deeper. The radical Republicans in the House are to blame.

  6. This shutdown in hurting every American and costing OUR country millions/day which will have to be repaid. This was the goal of the tea party candidates before they were elected to congress yet Americans voted for them. Why? To cut off those noses to spite their faces. The candidates were filmed asking their voters to back them in their fight to shut the government down & kill Obamacare which they would never call it by it’s real name the Affordable Care Act. They told them the VA, Federal Parks & other government facilities would be shut down & many people laid off but you must stand firm and back us. Their backers clapped & cheered. I wonder if they are still cheering when it touches them personally. How can these legislatures call themselves Americans when they are acting like terrorists holding our government hostage unless they get their way like little spoiled brats. I’m disgusted with the republican party. What whimps. They all fall in step to the few members and have no individual voices & can not compromise.

    1. They are no more terroristic than the democrats, who are holding to their ideology and don’t appear to be willing to compromise either. Both sides are like the neighborhood brat who storms off whenever someone tells them they are wrong or disagrees with them.

  7. As a retired public school teacher and NEA Life Member, I am writing to distinguish myself from the biased liberal commentary now professed by the NEA and other “education” organizations. In the space here provided it would be impossible to enumerate all the slanted, uninformed views my formerly proud organization now expresses. Succinctly put, the federal government has NO constitutional mandate or invitation to oversee education. At best, it is a local prerogative of the people. Whatever our individual views regarding education, they should be aired, discussed, and considered at the most LOCAL levels.
    Personally I am sick and tired of hearing your socialist propaganda. Try to remember that historically and foundationally, WE (NEA) are an association, NOT a union!

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