Pressure on Republican U.S. House members responsible for shutting down the American government is mounting in Florida and nationwide, as demonstrated by a grassroots petition drive gathering steam today, and this afternoon's release of a strongly worded new video by Democratic U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-21).
Advocacy organization Progress Florida is spearheading the petition drive that has gathered many thousands of signatures in the past 48 hours and reads as follows:
Dear Florida Congressional Republicans,
As Floridians, we're appalled that Republicans in Congress would shut down the government in an effort to deny millions of Floridians and Americans access to quality health care.
This shutdown is forcing our children, our families, and our seniors to pay the price for partisan games in Washington.
Enough. We demand you end the government shutdown immediately.
As Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferullo points out in an email blast, the government shutdown voted for by all 17 Republican members of Florida's House contingent (and opposed by all 10 Democrats) will hurt countless of their own constituents statewide; from nearly 90,000 federal employees who'll suffer pay cuts and delays, to thousands of seniors, children, veterans, and small business owners who'll be adversely affected.
Congressman Ted Deutch's video gives a very clear, brief background on how we got to this point - and why we never needed to - before putting into plain words what so many Floridians and Americans are thinking:
"At a time when our nation is facing so many challenges, the American people expect their leaders in Washington to work for solutions, not to create more problems. It's time for Speaker Boehner to stand up to the extremists within his party and to put an end to this embarrassing and harmful shutdown."
At this writing, there is unconfirmed word spreading that several members of Florida's GOP House contingent are indeed feeling enough pressure to be ready to vote for a "clean" budget bill that has no unrelated anti-Obamacare strings attached. And there's word out of Washington that about 15 other Republican House members nationwide are ready to join with them and the Democrats in voting to end the shutdown.
It's now up to House Speaker John Boehner to schedule that vote to take place. But for the moment, the pressure he's feeling from the Tea Party minority of his majority contingent is trumping the pressure steadily building from the vast majority of Americans in Florida and the rest of the United States.