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The debt ceiling saga and government shutdown may be coming to a close but make no mistake, there should be consequences for those who willingly took America to the brink of disaster. Not only should Americans reject Republicans at the voting booth in 2014, they should demand the arrest of Tea Party Republicans for the high crime of sedition. And there’s a petition circulating online that does just that.
According to the US Code (18 U.S.C. § 2384 ), seditious conspiracy is a crime under United States law. The law states in part that,
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to… prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States… they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
This is exactly what Republicans are guilty of. In their obsession to kill President Obama’s signature health care law, a group of House Republicans held America hostage in a last ditch effort to achieve their goal. At the urging of Senator Ted Cruz, House Tea Party members initiated a shutdown that has cost the country billions of dollars over the last two weeks. Republicans were absolutely happy about it. The shutdown caused a layoff of 800,000 federal employees, resulting in harm to military veterans, children, women, the poor, education, and businesses. It did terrible damage to the nation as a whole and hurt our reputation around the world.
And when Democrats didn’t give in to their demands, Republicans decided to threaten the economic security of the country and the world with a debt ceiling breach. A default on our debt would have sent the economy into a tailspin. Republicans choose to deny that fact and insisted that not raising the debt ceiling was a good thing because Americans need to suffer.
Then if that weren’t enough, the GOP prepared to blame President Obama for the debt ceiling default if he refused to meet their demands. A default would have been used as an excuse by Tea Party Republicans to try to impeach the President. So in the middle of a government shutdown and a debt ceiling breach, the GOP wanted to drag America through impeachment hearings at the same time. All because they want to use the budget resolution to repeal Obamacare.
Unfortunately for Republicans, the Affordable Care Act is a law that was legally passed by Congress. It was signed by the President. And ultimately, it was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. By shutting down the government and threatening the economic security of the United States in an effort to forcibly repeal, weaken, or delay the law, Republicans have committed an act of sedition. As such, a petition has been started on Moveon.org calling for the arrest of Tea Party Republicans who put the country at risk to forcibly repeal a law they don’t like.
The petition statement calls upon the Justice Department to arrest and charge House Republicans with sedition. The petition further states that,
“The House GOP leadership’s use of the Hastert Rule and H. Res 368 to shut down the government and threaten the US economy with default is an attempt to extort the United States government into altering or abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and thus, is self-evidently a seditious conspiracy. Arrest the perpetrators in Congress immediately and bring them to justice.”
House Resolution 368 was a change in House Rules by Republicans that gave Majority Leader Eric Cantor the sole authority to re-open the government. The dead of night change effectively overthrew House Speaker John Boehner.
The simple truth is that Republicans did all of this by themselves to themselves. They held America hostage and put the entire nation at risk just to repeal a law that they have failed to repeal nearly 40 times in normal congressional business since 2011. It was a plotted conspiracy that has been in the planning since last year. And even though it certainly looks as if the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is about to end, Republicans refused to make any promises that they wouldn’t do the exact same thing again in February. Clearly, the GOP intends to repeat this hostage situation again.
The American people should hold the GOP accountable at the ballot box. But we should also insist that more serious consequences be suffered by Republicans for giddily placing the nation in jeopardy just to force Democrats to give in to their policy demands. This is tyranny of the minority and it can’t be allowed to go unpunished, especially when it is so clear that Republicans violated the law and betrayed the Constitution. If Republicans really love America, they’ll surrender themselves to authorities or resign their posts so that more responsible and reasonable citizens can take their place. Never before in American history has a radical right-winger been arrested and charged with sedition.
Perhaps it is time for that to change.