As noted in your coverage of the shutdown ("11th-hour vote ends shutdown," Oct. 17), Rep. Andy Harris voted against the bipartisan legislation to reopen the government and avoid an unnecessary default of the United States. In other words, he voted with the 144 House members who wanted to continue the shutdown and threaten the nation's economy as opposed to the 285 House members (including 87 Republicans) who came together for the good of the nation. This shameful vote came at a time when more than one in eight Maryland households is struggling to put food on the table and tens of millions of Americans are struggling with unemployment, inadequate wages and hunger. His vote was completely divorced from the lives of real people.
This debate isn't just about the numbers. There is a human cost. Almost one million federal workers went without pay over the past two weeks — including the congressman's own district staff. In addition, thousands of contractors, small businesses and others lost wages and business. For each day this shutdown continued, Representative Harris' furloughed employees and thousands of his constituents scrambled to make ends meet while he continued to get a paycheck.
Mr. Harris calls Obamacare "a disaster that will cripple Maryland businesses and the Maryland economy" and points to provisions in the Affordable Care Act as the reason why he wouldn't support negotiations to end the shutdown. It's as if he didn't realize that the shutdown was a disaster that crippled Maryland business and the Maryland economy! It's past time for the political games to stop. As the only Maryland representative to vote to against the deal, Mr. Harris needs to work with his fellow members of Congress to come up with practical, workable solutions.
Michael J. Wilson, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun