Federal Contingency Plans: Read Them!
Posted on October 6, 2013
Has Pres. Obama purposefully shut down more federal programs than necessary during the government shutdown in order to “make Americans feel it”? That’s what some conservative pundits are arguing. (Only click that link if you are ready to roll your eyes a lot or do a rhetorical analysis of the way they are putting together their argument, because it’s really quite genius.) I even saw someone on Facebook this morning call this “tyranny.”
The rhetorical trick that numerous conservablogs are trying is to point to things that have been shut down–in their opinion, unnecessarily–and argue that “Obama did it.” Obama shut down this. Obama shut down that.
Aside from the fact that it is the GOP that wanted and caused the government shutdown (and there is literally no argument otherwise that makes any sense), this idea that Obama has some master list of federally-funded projects and he’s pouring over it, deciding which things he can shut down in order to inconvenience people the most is just absurd.
Every single thing that is happening has been planned in advance by the federal department in charge of that area. So, the WWII memorial situation? The fact that there were barricades brought in even though that seems a little unnecessary considering it’s a low-staff location that people can generally enter whenever they want? Yes, that seems a little extreme, but if you look at the National Park Service’s contingency plans, you see that all park entrances were scheduled to be blocked/barricaded: “All national parks will be closed and secured.” There isn’t some exception for parks that don’t have traditional gated entrances. And yes, the WWII memorial counts as a park, as it is administrated by the Parks Department.
Instead of believing what conservablogs are telling you about Obama’s ill intentions during the shutdown, why not look at the contingency plans of every single federal department, which were published before the shutdown, to see whether or not that department is following their plans as they were drafted. If you have a problem with the way they have interpreted the shutdown, then the heads of those departments are who you should be directing your disagreement.
I’ve found that Googling the department + “contingency plan” is an effective way to find the pre-shutdown published plans of each federal department.
- Department of Health and Human Services (including the NIH)
- The Department of Transportation
- The Department of the Interior
Well, actually, no. You should be directing your displeasure at the GOP, who are mucking this up so badly and desperately trying to pin it on “the other guys,” despite their obvious glee.