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Lucas on Government Shutdown

Posted on Thursday, October 03, 2013

Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas was recently quoted in two Finger Lakes Times articles about the government shutdown - one prior to the shutdown which ran on Sept. 29, and one the day following the start of the shutdown, on Oct. 2.

When interviewed for the first, Lucas believed the shutdown was not likely to happen. "My feeling is that both sides are seeing nothing to gain by a government shutdown, and the Republicans are going to accept what comes out of the Senate and avoid a government shutdown," he was quoted.

Interviewed on the day of the shutdown, he is quoted: "I think what happened was, I underestimated the hubris of the tea party. I think I felt that they were more willing to accept that they had a vote - votes- on their preferred position that they could register and say, we fought the good fight, we lost that battle, let's move forward."

The article notes "Lucas sees two paths to a solution: Either the tea party faction of the Republican party will have to give up its demand to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act, or Republican leaders will have to allow their more moderate members to join with the Democrats and pass a clean spending resolution.

"One thing Lucas doesn't see happening: Democrats giving way on health care reform."

A member of the faculty since 2000, Lucas holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from State University at Binghamton. The full story from Oct. 2 with additional quotes from Lucas follows.


Finger Lakes Times
Blame game begins in shutdown

Jim Miller • October 2, 2013

With the government shut down, the battle over blame - and public opinion - can begin.

In a teleconference with voters and reporters Tuesday night, Rep. Dan Maffei, D-24 of Syracuse, blamed "a handful of partisan extremists" and "tea party extremists" who he said had decided to hold the country and its economy hostage to their demands. "When you let partisan gridlock and other political games get in the way, it really is a problem," he said.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-23 of Corning, had another take. He blamed Democrats for rejecting a Republican bill that would have ended healthcare subsidies for Congress and congressional staff.

"The country faces a government shutdown today because there are members of Congress who refuse to give up their special treatment under the President's health care law," Reed said in a press release. "The House passed a bill Monday night to keep the government open by putting all Americans on a level playing field and ending special treatment for Congress. The bottom line is the House made a simple, fair request to end special treatment for Congress and the Senate rejected [it], choosing to protect their personal interests rather than keep the government open. Special treatment for Congress isn't right and it isn't fair. We need reasonable members in the Senate to come to the negotiating table and if they don't, Congress and the President should not get paid."

The shutdown is the first in 17 years. Even last week, many doubted that it would happen.

"I think what happened was, I underestimated the hubris of the tea party," said DeWayne Lucas, a Hobart and William Smith Colleges political science professor who predicted Friday that someone would blink before a shutdown happened. "I think I felt that they were more willing to accept that they had a vote - votes- on their preferred position that they could register and say, we fought the good fight, we lost that battle, let's move forward."

Moving forward, in the sense Lucas was talking about, would have meant offering a resolution to fund the government. Instead, House Republicans proposed resolutions that would fund the government while defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act - provisions unacceptable to Democrats.

Maffei said he was willing to accept some Republican proposals, including a one-year delay of the individual mandate, a key component of the health care bill. However, he rejected a defunding or a delay of the entire bill.

"I don't think there should be any strings attached, frankly, to this," he said. "I think we need to keep the government open and have the debate at another point."

Maffei believes the shutdown will hurt the economy, middle-class families and, if it goes on long enough, national security.

Lucas said the impact will grow the longer the shutdown lasts. This weekend, people will go to national parks and museums and find them closed. Soon, local groups that rely on federal funding may find it cut off. Furloughed federal employees and those working without pay start to miss their checks. They'll start making their feelings known, and their lack of cash could impact local economies, Lucas said.

"I'm confident it's going to resolve in some way," he said. "I'm not convinced either side now is ready to blink."

Lucas sees two paths to a solution: Either the tea party faction of the Republican party will have to give up its demand to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act, or Republican leaders will have to allow their more moderate members to join with the Democrats and pass a clean spending resolution.

One thing Lucas doesn't see happening: Democrats giving way on health care reform.

"For Democrats, the health care bill is sort of their defining win, the defining legislation for the Obama administration," he said. "[It's] the major piece of legislation they've fought for for decades now as a party."

Maffei said moderate members of both parties are pressuring both sides to compromise. He hopes President Barack Obama will call a meeting to hammer out an agreement.

"I am trying to do my best to be an example of someone who is willing to compromise," Maffei said

 


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