A government shutdown is a disservice to taxpayers

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However, Obama and the Democrats have made it clear that they will not negotiate with Republicans over a debt limit increase.

In all of my years in politics, I have never seen an administration more averse to meeting and negotiating with those on the other side of the aisle. In my day, sure, many of us didn’t agree on all the issues, but we had the wherewithal to meet, negotiate and try to understand one another for the common good of the nation.

Allow me to review a little bit of history. When President Lyndon Johnson was trying to push Congress to agree on and pass massive civil rights legislation, Johnson, a Democrat, visited the home of Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, and together they had drinks and worked on the bill for hours.

I regularly met with and had dinner with Democratic Senators Joe Biden and Dennis DeConcini to iron out bipartisan measures.

Sadly, this type of camaraderie does not exist today, and as a result you have looming government shutdowns instead of legislation that’s in the best interests of the country. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

Republicans and Democrats cannot allow rigid political philosophies to supersede common sense and bring about a ruinous outcome for the U.S. In fact, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill can learn a lesson from our legislators right here in Nassau County, who, on Sept. 23, voted unanimously in support of the Nassau Coliseum redevelopment project.

After years of failed attempts, Nassau County is finally going to get the sports and entertainment center it deserves at no expense to taxpayers. County Executive Ed Mangano was on hand to celebrate this great accomplishment, stating, “It ends a decade of Long Island ‘no’s,’ and now we stand here with a resounding Long Island ‘yes.’”

Construction will begin on Aug. 1, 2015. A revamped Coliseum will be a great addition to Long Island, and I can’t wait to attend future events there.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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