Region's congressional delegation reacts to government shutdown
Below are the statements we've received so far from Oregon's and Washington's congressional delegation:
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon
Washington, DC- Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement on the shutdown of the government due to a lapse in appropriations.
"Today's events have been deeply unfortunate. The shutdown of the government will do great damage to millions of Americans in many walks of life, from the closure of national parks, to unapproved loans for small businesses, to delayed benefits for our veterans and seniors.
"Moreover, this entire manufactured crisis hurts American families, slowing business investments that would otherwise put Americans to work. Throw in the plan by some to create another crisis in a few weeks over the debt ceiling, and the damage is substantial.
"Tonight's failure is rooted in the determination of some in Congress to use the threat to drive the American economy over the cliff as a lever to win policy positions on health care that were lost during regular Congressional debate and in the Presidential election. This hostage-taking is wrong-headed in the extreme and must be rejected by those on the right and left seeking common sense restoration of an ordinary budget process. The beginning for that path is for a small band of Republicans in the Senate to end their six-month filibuster that has blocked meetings of the bicameral Budget Conference Committee.
"Some in the House have asked for the Senate to compromise. The Senate has compromised, adopting the House spending number for the Continuing Resolution rather than the Senate number. Unfortunately, the House cannot take yes for an answer.
"Oregonians are very clear that they want their representatives working together to solve real problems. We owe it to the families across America who are depending on us to take on the big challenges we face as a nation."
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-1st District
"Today the House leadership forced a government shutdown in an attempt to block or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I am deeply disappointed. It is a reckless path that will hurt our economy and cast a shadow of instability and uncertainty over the country.
"The House has voted on legislation to repeal or defund the ACA more than 40 times, and they have failed each time to accomplish their goal. This obsession with defunding the ACA has taken time that should have been spent on important legislative priorities like immigration reform and job creation. Congress has a number of pressing responsibilities that require our attention, including growing the economy, strengthening education, and maintaining the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. This shutdown puts these issues on the back burner and risks undermining the economic stability of the country. Our constituents do not deserve this type of policy making.
"The ACA expands access to health care and will help curtail the rising costs of health care in America. Among other benefits, it prevents those with pre-existing medical conditions from being denied health insurance. It was enacted into law and upheld by the Supreme Court. Funding for implementation of the healthcare law has already been committed and insurance exchanges will open all over the country regardless of a government shutdown. It is fundamentally undemocratic for a handful of obstructionists to harm the country's social and economic well-being because a vote didn't go their way. The American people deserve better.
"With a government shutdown, essential services that protect health and safety will be maintained, including veterans' services and payment for Social Security and Medicare benefits. But up to one million federal workers will be furloughed and a number of government services will be delayed or stopped altogether, including federal food assistance, some medical research programs, and national parks, monuments, and museums.
"While in D.C. I will continue to work for a bipartisan solution to reinstate full government services, but I will not play politics with issues of great importance to our economy and millions of Americans."
Tweet from Rep. Greg Walden, R-2nd District
House has acted to keep gov't open, delay Obamacare & eliminate exemption for Congress. Time for Senate join us at the tableRep. Greg Walden (@repgregwalden) October 1, 2013
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-3rd District
"Because Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless the Affordable Care Act was defunded or delayed, many parts of the federal government have shut down.
"It is difficult to tell exactly what the effects will be, since the last shutdown ended in 1996, but we know that millions of families across the country will suffer. Veterans' benefits, Social Security, unemployment, and Medicare will continue to function, although payments and disbursements may be delayed due to lack of personnel to process them.
"We do know that the Affordable Care Act enrollment is open. This program takes another important step on October 1st as the healthcare exchanges open. You can learn more about the health care options available to you at www.coveroregon.com.
"My offices, in Portland and at the Capitol will remain open. I know your life goes on. Whether the federal government is open or closed, you still have questions and concerns that need to be addressed, so I want to make sure that my staff and I continue to serve you as best as we can during this time.
"I'll continue working to reopen the federal government without giving into the unreasonable and unrelated demands of those who want to refight old battles. This irresponsible shutdown undoubtedly will add to the problems and confusion while avoiding the real challenges of today. Hopefully we can restore sanity and get the government open again as soon as possible.
"Thank you for your patience."
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-4th District
"The Tea Party conservatives are holding the federal government hostage because they don't have the votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. There are many laws I don't agree with, but I work to amend and improve them, not bring the entire government to a standstill.
"I am happy to work with moderate and conservative republicans to break the Tea Party grip on Congress. Their radical politics begin with a fundamental opposition to the federal government, which makes it impossible for them to effectively govern. Most Republicans I know still believe the federal government is necessary. I support a clean spending bill that keeps the government open and if that bill was given a vote on the House floor, it would pass today with bipartisan support.
"This government shutdown will deny countless essential government services to Americans, send hundreds of thousands of federal employees home without pay, and further erode the reputation of the U.S. government.
"As damaging as a federal government shutdown will be, the Tea Party Republicans are also threatening to block an increase to the country's debt ceiling, which is expected to be reached in the coming weeks. The failure of the United States to pay its bills would quickly shred any confidence in the U.S. bond market. Interest rates will skyrocket harming American pocketbooks, the federal budget, and send our economy into a tailspin. It is no wonder that only 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing today. We must stop the hostage taking before the Tea Party does more economic damage to our nation."
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-5th District
WASHINGTON - Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tonight released the following statement after House Republicans guaranteed a government shutdown by refusing to pass a clean continuing resolution to fund government operations:
"Right now, Oregonians expect their Congress to work together to pass a budget, create certainty in the markets for investors and get folks back to working good, family-wage jobs," Schrader said. "What they do not expect from us is to pound our chests over lost political causes, risk shutting down the economy and end vital services and investments they depend on.
"Instead of coming to the table and working with willing Democrats like me to find middle ground on our nation's budget problems, House Republicans chose to cater to their reckless Tea Party ideologues and shut down the U.S. government. This is exactly the opposite of what American families and businesses need.
"The Tea Party cannot begin to justify this terrible mess that they have made. They argue against policy riders then attach amendments to dismantle the health care law in a continuing resolution. They argue that the health care law must be delayed to provide certainty to the American people then pass a bill that creates more uncertainty for a longer period of time. They argue that Congress must tackle our deficits then pass a bill that adds to them.
"I will continue to work with my more thoughtful and reasonable Democratic and Republican friends on putting forward a substantive long-term deficit reduction and immediate jobs package that encourages economic investment in the U.S., strengthens our entitlement programs for the next generation and ends the can kicking that we are all sick of.
"Lastly, I firmly believe that if Members of Congress fail to perform their most basic duty in passing a budget, then they do not deserve to be paid. It is in that vein that I will be donating the congressional salary I collect during the shutdown to a local Oregon charity to be named later. It's time for Congress to get its act together."
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington
(Washington, D.C.) - Tonight, U.S. Senator Patty Murray made the following statement on the federal government shutdown.
"Tonight I join with so many Washington families in being frustrated and disappointed that House Republicans have shut down the federal government over a crisis of their own creation. Shutting down the government over a law that has - and will continue to - provide Washington families with access to affordable health care is the height of irresponsibility and Washington state families deserve better.
"In the hours and days ahead I will continue to work to pass a bill to fund the government that is free from unrelated ideological attacks so that our state's economy, our veterans, federal workers, and students don't pay the price for House Republicans' political games.
"To be clear, this shutdown would be over immediately if Speaker Boehner would simply allow both Democrats and Republicans in the House to vote on the bill the Senate has passed multiple times to continue funding the government. But to this point, Republican leaders have chosen shutdown over sanity and politics over the many people who will be impacted by shuttering the government.
"Families from across the political spectrum are sick of governing by crisis and the uncertainty it creates for businesses and communities. That's why for six months I have fought every day for the budget that I passed in the Senate to be negotiated with the budget passed in the House. But at every turn I've been rebuffed by Tea Party Republicans who insist that the only way to negotiate is by holding our economy hostage in exchange for outrageous political demands.
"I firmly believe that I would be doing a disservice to the families that I represent if I were to give in to this type of behavior. The last thing anyone should want is a government shutdown, but the days of a small political faction holding the entire nation back from addressing the much larger challenges we face must come to an end."