September 29, 2013

Barney Frank: Taking the government hostage

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Obama is absolutely right to say he will not negotiate with these parliamentary terrorists. It is entirely legitimate for Republicans to continue to campaign to repeal the health care bill, financial regulatory reform, an independent consumer bureau or anything else. But a process by which people deliberately inflict harm on our economy by refusing to allow the government to perform its essential functions solely to gain leverage over a policy issue which they cannot win by the normal processes is a threat to our constitutional system.

If that tactic works -- if people who do not like a previously enacted policy can threaten at any time that they will shut down the whole government until the majority that enacted that policy gives in to their minority view -- we will be in serious trouble.

The threat by the tea party to shut down the entire government and refuse to pay our debts because they lack the votes to repeal health care reform is an assault not only on the health care bill but also on our economy and democratic government.

Barney Frank is a retired congressman and author of landmark legislation. He divides his time between Maine and Massachusetts.

Twitter: @BarneyFrank 

-- Special to the Telegram


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