Recapping the “recent unpleasantness” (at least as I understand it) coming out of Washington, the problem was that a budget needed to be passed (minus funding for the Department of Defense, whose budget was already in place).

However, one section of the House of Representatives (remember, all budget bills begin life in the lower house) wanted specific funding for a physical border wall with Mexico, while the other section professed to be in favor of border security, but would not include funds for a physical wall. On top of this congressional discord, the president vowed to veto any bill reaching his desk which did not have funding for a physical wall.

Absent progress in the House of Representatives, the federal government shut down for 35 consecutive days, thousands of federal employees were sent home (except those deemed “essential,” and even these were forced to work without pay). Financial chaos and embarrassment ensued, as furloughed employees had to dip into savings, try to negotiate forbearance on loan payments, or scramble to take out bridge loans.

There will be back pay, but not necessarily for all affected parties.

Now a committee is at work to try and find some middle ground for a bill which would pass in the House of Representatives and, hopefully, in the Senate, also.

Remember, both houses of Congress have to be in accord for a bill to make it out of Congress for the president’s consideration. And this committee work is just a shutdown “timeout.”

If nothing gets produced within the agreed upon time frame, supposedly it’s back to “Hello, Mr. Shutdown.”

Enter now a new potential hurdle. Broad hints are coming out of the White House that without funding for a physical wall, any bill presented for signature will be vetoed.

So what’s to do? Here are my thoughts:

1. All members of Congress work for us. We don’t work for them. We hired them to be federal employees when we voted for them. Our taxes pay for their salaries and for their numerous “perks.”

2. So, dear employees of mine, you get a bill out of both houses of Congress and to the president’s desk. If he vetoes what you of both houses have agreed upon, then rise up and override the veto. You have that power, and you work for us, not for him.

3. And if you fail in either of these reasonable requests, and if that failure results in another shutdown, we, your employers, will do everything in our power to be sure you and your staffs join the ranks of the uncompensated, with our rationale being quite simple: You have shown your incompetence, you don’t deserve to be paid. And, as soon as we are able (make that November 2020), we will replace you with workers who have a better understanding of the employer-employee relationship and who also have a higher level work ethic.

The choice is yours. Choose wisely.