2013-10-11 / Editorial/Opinion

Shutdown The Shutdown

The Congress that finished its term in January earned its reputation as a Do-Nothing Congress – though it may be that was a good thing. After all, those fools are the ones who passed the Biggert-Waters Act. “It seemed like good legislation at the time,” Peter King, congressman from Long Island has said. Maxine Waters, one of the co-authors of the law which sends flood insurance premiums skyrocketing, says she is shocked by the unintended consequences. It was and remains a bi-partisan error of epic proportions. Until the law is repealed or amended Rockaway’s future will be at risk.

That same Congress, if you recall, dragged its feet and never delivered a Sandy relief bill. It was left to the incoming Congress to pass the bill and get damaged areas the help that was needed.

Well, now the current crop of congress people is putting Rockaway at risk as well. The government shutdown may delay the boardwalk rebuild and the protective measures that come with it. Will funding for beach replenishment and the Army Corps reformulation study go away? We’d like to ask someone at the Army Corps that question – but we can’t – they’ve been furloughed

To be sure, this shutdown will cause a backlog. Turning the government back on will be like turning around a huge cargo container. It will be slow. And that slowness might just be deadly. You might feel the government shutdown is not effecting you – but you don’t know when the next storm is coming. And you don’t know if this delay will cause Rockaway to be exposed. At a February meeting, an Army Corps spokesman said, “This time is different.” Senator Schumer promised more protection than ever.

Why does it feel like déjà vu to us?

If this Congress is insistent on negotiating or amending parts of the Affordable Care Act they should end the shutdown. The shutdown tied in with defaulting on obligations, we’re told, could cause financial calamity. We don’t pretend to know what the markets will do, but we know what the ocean can do. We can’t allow this Congress to keep us in harm’s way.

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