If you live in the Weber-Davis area you may have noticed a few extra neighbors home this week working in their yards. That's because almost 12 percent of the workforce was out of work due to the madness in Washington.
When Utah's own Senator Mike Lee first started the chatter about shutting down the federal government to get his way, I thought, "What a ridiculous idea. Doesn't Mike Lee know that a huge number of his constituents work for the federal government?"
I was reassured that the idea was crazy by the majority of reasonable members of Congress who stated that it only represented the views of the extreme. However, as the days rolled by, more and more members of the GOP jumped on board. Despite the rejection of the idea by the past two GOP presidential nominees and the fact that the majority of Americans are against a shut down of the federal government, here we sit watching our neighbors rake their lawns on a Monday afternoon, because the government is closed for business.
If only we had someone in Washington to look after us. If only there were someone who represented our specific region of the country. It's a region where more than 24,000 people work for the federal government. Surely if we had our own representative, they would immediately shout, "no!!"
But unfortunately for more than 20,000 families in northern Utah, that's not the case. Except ... that is the case. We do have a representative. There is someone in Washington who should be fighting to keep a huge percentage of workers in the most populous area of his district working. So where has Rep. Rob Bishop been during this trying time for so many families? He's been quietly cashing his paycheck while he repeatedly votes to keep tens of thousands of his very own constituents from receiving theirs.
Now I don't want this to turn into a debate about "Obamacare," because it's not. Let's ignore the fact that it was passed into law, upheld by the Supreme Court, and supported by voters when they overwhelming voted for candidates in favor of it last November. I understand that all of Utah's elected members of Congress have vowed to destroy Obamacare and the evils that accompany it, but is there no limit to the damage they are willing to inflict in order to accomplish their goal? Bishop's support of shutting down the federal government can only mean one of two things.
First, Rep. Bishop is unaware of the fact that his district depends on federal employment more than almost any other area of the country. Second, and much more likely, is that he is aware of this, but fails to place the importance of keeping 24,000 people buying groceries, paying rent, and supporting their families ahead of his own political agenda.
There is a better way to fight the Affordable Care Act. In fact, if either party spent as much time discussing ways to improve Obamacare, as they did trying to completely destroy or completely protect it, we would have the greatest health care policy in the world. Since the proposition of that appears slim, for now I guess we'll have to settle for better-manicured lawns in the neighborhood.
Combe, who lives in Ogden, competed in the Democratic Party primary for Utah's Second Congressional District in 2012.