If the House and Senate don’t reach an agreement on funding by midnight on Monday, the U.S. federal government will begin to shut down. The reaction of U.S. Representative Alan Grayson to this crisis: Above all else, let’s keep up appearances!
Yesterday, Representative Grayson introduced H.R. 3203, a bill that would respond to the threat of a shutdown of the federal government with a program that would allow for large private donations of money to fund the system for public tours of the White House. Closure of White House tours would be a tangible manifestation of the closure of governmental services. So, one wonders why Grayson is so convinced that a gap in White House tours not take place. Is it really so important for a few tourists to check off a particular item in their Washington D.C. sightseeing list? Why not, if the House Republicans are so keen to force a government shutdown, allow the government shutdown to happen, so that people notice the consequences, small and large, of a withdrawal of the governmental infrastructure in our society?
The idea of allowing private gifts to the White House, for its continued publicity, is also an idea of questionable ethical merit. Wouldn’t a system to facilitate such gifts become a conduit for de facto bribes?
Perhaps Alan Grayson isn’t really serious about H.R. 3203. Perhaps he is merely using this legislation as an opportunity to chide the Republicans that their tactics risk the closure of patriotic landmarks. If that’s the case, though, it would be just another example of Grayson choosing to blow hot air rather than tackling political issues in a serious manner, as an elected official ought to.