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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Is Howard Schultz blaming Republicans for shutdown?

WASHINGTON — Is Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz blaming the GOP for the government shutdown?

In an open letter posted on his company’s website Monday, Schultz called on business leaders to break their “relative silence and impact” regarding the on-going congressional shenanigans.

“I find myself utterly disappointed by the level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to with our elected political leadership,” Schultz wrote.

He promised Starbucks would take unspecified “actions in the coming weeks to galvanize our customers, inspire our people and encourage the communities we serve to come together to take care of each other.”

Then he added:  “I don’t pretend that both parties are equally to blame for this crisis. But, I do think they are equally responsible for leading us to a solution.”

Zack Hutson, a Starbucks spokesman, declined to say where he lays the blame.

“We’ll have more to share soon but have nothing to add at this time,” Hutson said.

The shutdown, which began at 12:01 a.m. last Tuesday, resulted when Republicans refused to vote for a temporary spending bill to keep the government open unless they could defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. Democrats refused to undo President Obama’s signature legislation.

Democrats have been agitating for House Speaker John Boehner to hold a vote on a “clean” spending bill, which they say has the backing of enough moderate Republicans for passage.

The outspoken Schultz made a similar foray into political criticism in 2011. That’s when the United States very nearly breached the federal debt ceiling under Republican insistence on deep spending cuts. A disgusted Schultz called for a boycott of political contributions.

Comments | More in Congress | Topics: government shutdown, Howard Schultz, Starbucks


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