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erin nolon
Attends University of Maine at Presque Isle
Lives in Woodbridge, VA
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erin nolon

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Dear Congress,
I’m only 20 years old, so most of my memories are of the post 9/11, highly partisan world. I’m used to every issue being divided mostly on party lines and every fight being solved only after everyone has acted like a petulant child that is having their nails pulled out. What I am not used to is seeing a Congress that, even after the nail pulling, cannot seem to come to an agreement. Every year that I have paid attention to politics, it has only been at the last minute that a deal has come around, and the last few years only a temporary deal at that, but this year you can not even do that much for us. This year, you have failed at one of your most basic duties.

The duty of which I speak is the one to pass a budget that includes budget cuts and revenue increases so that we can continue to pay our bills and work like any country should. There should not be hostages and “pork” like the ending, delaying of, or any change to, Obamacare. If the funding for it was part of the budget in general, then I would be a little more understanding towards wanting to look at it, at least for a more long-term budget, but as it stands what you are doing is unacceptable. I am not saying that Obamacare is perfect and does not need any work done, because that would be a lie. Any new policy, law, or program needs adjustments to make it better and more functional, and Obamacare is certainly not the exception, but deciding that because you don’t have the votes to get rid of it that you will simply hold the American people and the budget hostage is simply unacceptable. 

My husband is not a federal employee, nor is he any longer part of the military. He works for a company that works for NASA on a contract. He, however, is just as affected by this as any federal employee is. He is being told that there will be no work for him and that as long as there is a shutdown, he will not have a job. To top it all off, because he is in the private sector, he is banned by his employment contract from working in the same “general field” that he is working for this company in, so even if there was an open job, he could not take it. Living in Northern Virginia, I can only assume that there are at least a thousand other people within five miles of us in the same situation: being told that you won’t have work or pay for an unspecified period of time.

Even our military friends are facing this very real possibility. They serve the country and have signed a blank check payable up to the amount of their lives, and many face deployment or already deployed, yet they are facing also having to worry about how to feed their families and put a roof over their heads. Yes, there is a bill that has gone through the House and is in the hands of the Senate that would make sure the military still got paid, but let us be honest. This is not because you care oh so much about the troops. It is because you depend on them for getting into office and because you know that if the military was forced to work unpaid for an extended period of time, they would march on Washington and lock you all in a room until you came out with a real budget that actually lasts an entire year and properly balances the budget, with both budget cuts and revenue increases. To be perfectly honest, this very thing is what makes me feel that the Senate should reject the bill funding the military. Even if they get paid the lower ranks will grumble, if only because most of them depend on a second income from a spouse, but the higher ranking officers will only speak up if everyone is being denied pay. 

Many of us not receiving a paycheck will find a way to pay bills, at least for a while, but each week of pay we miss is more likely to go towards covering the basics and less likely to go towards a big holiday season. You say that defunding Obamacare is just too important to Americans and to Small businesses, but I ask you this: are the small businesses, or even the large ones that you get so much of your money from, going to accept another lagging holiday season? Thanksgiving to New Years is where a lot of businesses make a good percentage of their income. This is the time of the year that even the poorest families find a little extra to spend, and most middle class families find a few thousand to spend. If you make people miss a week or more of pay, they are going to have less to put into the economy at this time. This means more unemployment, small businesses collapsing, and large businesses getting upset at unpleasant revenue projections. That is not even beginning to touch on how our debtors will feel when our economy starts going downhill again. 

So I ask you this Congress: will you stay working until this dilemma is solved and we are once again a functioning country, or will you fail the American people? Obamacare needs some work, but it needs to wait until we are paying our bills and paying our people. Please pass a clean budget and do what you were voted in to do. We did not vote you in simply to play partisan games. We voted you in to take care of the needs of the people, and our first need is to have an operational government.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Citizen
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erin nolon

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I would just like to make a note on today's Supreme Court rulings. They had two very difficult, very controversial cases to decide on. They could have waved these decisions off and said that they simply shouldn't have taken the cases in the first place. They could have also picked very extreme positions on the case and held to them, ignoring what is right for the country. Instead, they found a measure of compromise that allowed for what is essentially a bipartisan decision.

While I am sure that there are people that are going to say that no compromise happened and that Gay Rights Activists got everything that they wanted, that is simply not true. 

In the Defense of Marriage Act case, the more liberal members of the Court could have insisted on focusing entirely on the equal rights side of things and then the court would have likely never come to an adequate decision and could have just thrown the case back to the lower courts, saying they never should have taken it in the first place. Instead, they also looked at State's rights and this made it possible for a more conservative Justice, in this case Justice Kennedy, to join them in their decision.

Similarly, in the Proposition 8 case, compromise was made. I am sure that many of the more liberal Justices wanted to simply state that once such an important right is given, it can not be taken away. Instead, they looked at a simpler issue that even one of the most conservative Justices in the Court could agree on. That once the State decided to stop defending the Proposition, the private groups had no right to take it up. By focusing on the State's right to either defend or abandon this issue, even Justice Scalia was able to agree to the decision to make Same-Sex marriage legal in California once again.

Perhaps after today's rulings, a few members of Congress will wake up and see that compromise is not a failure, but simply a part of bipartisan movement. Bipartisanship and Compromise allowed two major decisions to be made in a way that made both sides at least somewhat content today. Let's see if Congress can take a hint.
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erin nolon

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How is this okay? How is it that Maine requires a bill to make the LePage administration follow a law that was passed by voters in 2004? Public education has little enough funding as it is.

Edit: For more information,
http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNewsArchive/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/27259/Default.aspx
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erin nolon

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He did know....that was part of the point
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Have her in circles
33 people
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Currently
Woodbridge, VA
Previously
Triangle, VA - Brunswick, ME - Bath, ME
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Education
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle
    Psychology, present
  • Morse High School
    2010
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