IRS Rally 02

Diane Zelazny, a furloughed IRS customer service representative, attends a rally outside the James V. Hansen Federal Building in downtown Ogden to push for an end to the government shutdown on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

By The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

For three weeks now, Americans have held by as those operating the federal government have stopped doing their jobs.

This has been keenly felt in our area of Northern Utah, as thousands of Utahns employed at the Internal Revenue Service are furloughed and not receiving pay. There’s also those operating TSA at airports who are working without pay, and U.S. Forest Service employees in Utah who cannot do their duties.

They want to be at work.

Our local businesses depend on these people to be at work.

Throughout the rest of Utah, our national parks have been affected for the worse, fielding significant damage while unmanned, by reckless visitors taking advantage of the situation.

Our state leaders and federal representatives have worked to keep some of the parks open — because what about tourism dollars?

And yet, we have thousands whose livelihoods depend on other jobs employed by the federal government, and they somehow seem more disposable than visitors centers.

We disagree.

How reckless to hold the economy of America’s towns and the well-being of families in the balance while politicians in Washington fail to perform the most basic function for which they exist. They’re not doing their jobs. Any other industry would have them fired.

They’re playing a dangerous and childish game of Red Rover, refusing to talk until the other side “caves” and the stakes are high — gambling livelihoods.

If it is inconsequential to force thousands of Americans to live without pay, who want to work, then Congress should not be allowed any income during this same period, as well as the president. After all, it is easy to say that the shutdown is supported or could go on for months when one doesn’t have to worry about buying food or making payments on a mortgage. Just ask Krystle Kirkpatrick, of Clinton, who’s wondering if she should get a part-time job so she can make her mortgage payment, or Daniel Lickey, who doesn’t know how he’ll have enough money to pay for his next set of prescriptions without a paycheck.

A government shutdown is not an effective way to legislate.

We implore Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, and Rep. Rob Bishop to urge their political leaders to find a way to end this, and not a month from now or a year from now. You have constituents out of work. You have local economies depending on the functions of a federal government. What else is more important right now than this?

On Thursday, Lee and Romney reintroduced the PURE Act (Protect Utah’s Rural Economy). So, apparently that’s more immediately crucial than the hundreds of thousands of jobs disrupted right now and the services they provide.

This must be more important than funding jobs for critical airport security — which is by the way national security.

Government representatives were elected to solve issues like national security and border control, which are incredibly important, but if they cannot do it without shutting down the government for this extended period of time, then it is indeed very broken.

We refuse to believe that the only choices before elected representatives are either fund a barrier so people aren’t killed or allow Americans to work their jobs.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!