On day four of the U.S. government shutdown, Rev. Al Sharpton and Florida Rep. John Mica battled over which party is responsible for the continuing crisis.
On day four of the U.S. government shutdown, Rev. Al Sharpton and Florida Rep. John Mica battled over which party is more responsible for the failure to negotiate an end to the crisis.
Sharpton asked whether there was a precedent in U.S. history for stopping government activity over a law that has already been passed, a question reminiscent of a similar exchange between Hardball’s Chris Matthews and Rep. Scott Perry last week.
“There have been 17 instances where we’ve had shutdowns, and they’re always over a law because you have to pass a law to fund the government,” said Mica. “It’s a very basic part of our government.”
The congressman chastised President Obama and the Senate for taking time off last weekend. “You can’t go play golf on Saturday and not show up for work on Sunday. The Senate didn’t come back until Monday at 2 o’clock. Wouldn’t you like a job like that, Al? Or your listeners?” The House of Representatives calendar, of course, scheduled members to be in session only 126 days this year.
Sharpton asked the congressman about Head Start programs in Mica’s own Florida district losing some funding due to the shutdown. “Some of Head Start is excellent. Some of it needs to be continued. A lot of it needs to be shut down and privatized. Kids, particularly from the minorities, are not given the opportunity and their performance levels are not high enough,” said Mica. “That’s one of the things you as an African-American leader should be promoting is improving the educational opportunities for our minorities who are getting shafted by these government programs. Come on Al, get with it.”
“You’ve shut the whole government down. You get with it,” said Sharpton. “You’re in denial. You’ve shut the government down.”
Watch the full exchange in the video player above.