As I write this, we’re a little over sixteen hours into the federal government shutdown. So far the world hasn’t ended, and we are beginning to get various reactions from Georgia’s Members of Congress to the shutdown.
We heard from Democrats, who blamed Republicans for the shutdown. We heard from Republicans who blamed Democrats for the shutdown. Read more below the fold.
In the Second District, this from Sanford Bishop:
“As you may have heard, rather than seek a bipartisan consensus, a small minority in the United States Congress resorted to brinksmanship at the eleventh hour in order to achieve their goals, forcing the government to shutdown. Frankly, I do not believe the Founders of our great nation intended for Congress to shun its constitutional and moral responsibility to keep the government operating for all Americans. It’s no wonder that the American people are mighty fed up.
“This partisan bickering is threatening the livelihoods of millions of Americans, rattling the stock market, threatening investments, and potentially disrupting our long-term economic recovery. Locally, many vital services that veterans, seniors, families, small business, and our communities rely on for healthcare, education, and economic development will be delayed. Federal offices have closed and many hard-working Americans are going unpaid.
“Everyday Americans employed by the Federal Government will be met with hardship at work and at home. Rent, taxes, mortgages, children’s tuition, food, and travel all will be impacted as paychecks are delayed. As hundreds of thousands of employees wait for their pay, local economies and communities will feel the brunt of Congress’ failure to pass a funding bill.
“Recalling the lessons we learned after the last government shutdown in 1995-1996, I remember first-hand how it affected Middle and Southwest Georgia. It didn’t make sense then and it surely doesn’t make sense now. I remain hopeful that we can stop this manufactured crisis and end this Republican government shutdown for the good of the American people.”
From the Fifth District, Congressman John Lewis:
“I am very sorry that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle do not believe in government and the collective good it can do to help citizens, businesses and communities lead more humane, productive lives. They do not share our democratic values and seem to feel compassion and support should not be extended to every citizen, but should be reserved for a privileged few. They did not see fit to keep the federal government open to serve the millions of Americans who depend upon it. And they had no regard for the over 700,000 federal employees and their families whose lives hang in the balance because of this reckless and unnecessary action.
“Throughout the past years of budgetary and funding struggles, Democrats have made serious compromises and agreed to deep cuts to programs we believe need to be sustained in order to avoid reaching this kind of impasse. But no serious concession was ever made on the other side. We have fought very hard to defend Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare from attempts to end those programs as we know them. We also fought, in this instance, to extend healthcare benefits to millions of Americans who currently have no access to coverage.
“It is irresponsible for the House majority to allow the federal government to shutdown. We must get back to the true work of governing, which involves fair negotiation and mutual compromise. That’s what the American people expect and that is what they deserve.”
In the Seventh District, Congressman Rob Woodall jumped the gun a bit, issuing this statement yesterday afternoon:
“The Senate’s decision to side with President Obama’s ‘I will never negotiate’ rhetoric over the financial stability of the nation has brought us to the verge of a government shutdown. Rather than work together, the President has chosen to bypass Congress numerous times to delay portions of Obamacare for certain segments of America while condemning others to the burdens of a mega-bill rushed through Congress before Americans could study what was in it. The President clearly acknowledges the bill is flawed, yet still he refuses to partner with Congress and give every American a reprieve. I remind the President that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t allow for rule by executive fiat, and we in the House have stretched out our hand in partnership agreeing to solve Obamacare’s unintended consequences for one year.”
“The American people deserve a responsible, functioning government. We can continue to fund the government responsibly and work to provide the American people with solutions, and I hope the Senate will return to the table and do just that.”
6th District Congressman Tom Price issued this release late on Monday, applauding the bipartisan passage of the CR in the House:
“Tonight’s passage of this government funding measure is a real victory for the American people. First, it keeps the government open and fully functional while reining in government spending by adhering to the levels established by the sequester.
“Next, our bill promotes fairness for all, as it delays the individual mandate of Obamacare for everyone. President Obama has already overextended his executive authority to postpone the implementation of this law for big businesses, and House Republicans simply want to provide the American public with that same relief. We believe no American should have to suffer under Obamacare.
“Our legislation also reverses the decision by the Office of Personnel Management that would provide subsidies for Members of Congress and their staffs who participate in the Obamacare exchanges. Moreover, we extended this requirement to political appointees, the White House and other executive offices. It is fundamentally unfair for those who are politically connected to receive special treatment while American families are treated differently.
“Each of the measures contained within this legislation enjoy widespread public support. Tonight’s vote represents a House Republican Conference unified in its determination to honor the will of the American people. We thank the House Democrats who joined us in passing it this evening because they understand Obamacare simply isn’t ready for primetime.
“Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Senate Democrats and the White House. They are more concerned with protecting a disastrous law and the president’s legacy than they are in protecting the American people from the harmful effects of it. To date, the White House and Senate Democrats have been unwilling to compromise with House Republicans. Clearly, this is because they believe a government shutdown benefits them politically. It is shameful that these elected officials would put their partisan political aspirations ahead of the needs and concerns of the American people. This must end now.”
Congressman Jack Kingston in the First District sent out a “What to Expect” email shortly after midnight, which Nathan posted earlier.
Meanwhile, Congressman John Barrow of the 12th District announced he is going to offer an amendment to the Continuing Resolution that would prohibit Congress from being paid during a government shutdown.
“It’s absurd that so many folks will have to go without pay, yet the folks causing the problem will feel no pain at all,” said Congressman Barrow. “If Congress doesn’t do its job, they shouldn’t be paid — it’s as simple as that. We should be accountable to the people who sent us here, and this is the least we can do to show that.”
10th District Congressman Paul Broun took to Twitter to announce he would not accept pay during the shutdown:
That’s all the reaction we could find from Georgia. On many of the congressional websites, there were messages talking about limited services during the shutdown, but it’s nice to see that many of the press shops are apparently still up and running.