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Sadly, our new Congressman Steil’s first significant votes were to keep major portions of the federal government closed. He voted to keep national parks closed, the Smithsonian museums in Washington closed, several government agencies closed, and thousands working without pay, all because he wants six billion dollars added to the budget for a border wall.

Thankfully, the vast majority in the House voted to keep the government open, and to allow separate consideration of whether to build this wall. Objective studies of the border wall show it is not cost effective, wasteful of tax dollars, but that issue can and should be debated by Congress as a separate budget matter given its controversial nature.

The Senate should now do its job, take up the House bills and vote on them. Of note, the bills provisions were approved by the Senate last year. Senator McConnell’s new position that he won’t allow the Senate to vote unless the president says he approves is just simply the Senate not doing its job.

Our Constitution makes budget appropriations the responsibility of Congress, in Article I, Section 8, sometimes called the “power of the purse.” If the president vetoes, then the veto is subject to an override vote, which or may not pass, but that is how our government is designed in the Constitution. McConnell’s shenanigans are a perversion of our Constitution.

Jeff Leavell, Racine

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