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The latest government shutdown should teach us all a lesson. We need our federal government and the essential services that it provides. Shutting the government down is a threat to national security.

As just one example, we were days away from a collapse of the air transportation system until a stopgap spending bill was passed. Now we are faced with another impasse and another possible shutdown in a couple of weeks.

What we need is legislation to prevent another government shutdown. I would propose that if Congress and the administration cannot agree on a budget, then the government needs to be able to continue operating at current funding levels. Secondly, pay should be suspended for Congress and the administration until they pass a budget. We should not allow the American people and federal workers to be held hostage because politicians can't agree on a budget.

We depend on the federal government for a wide variety of services. Those who say that "we need to make government small enough to drown in a bathtub" are just plain wrong. We need to keep the government open and serving the American people.

JEFF GOULDEN

Flagstaff

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