Local representatives back deal to restart government
The Capital Region's three congressional representatives supported a bill late Wednesday night to temporarily restart the government and avoid a default.
The bipartisan plan stems from negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate. Under the plan, the government would reopen through Jan. 15 and Treasury would be allowed to increase the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7.
It passed the House with 285 votes, including all 198 Democratic members.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said in a statement that he was pleased to vote for the plan and that Americans deserve better than what they got during the shutdown. "I will work with members of both parties to come up with a rational path forward that ends managing by crisis, grows the economy, creates jobs, and reduces the debt and deficit," he said.
U.S. Rep Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, said the shutdown was unnecessary and could have been avoided if Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, hadn't let things been held up by a small group of Tea Party Republicans.
“However, now is not the time to dwell on who won or lost, because everyone loses when partisanship dominates Congress," Tonko said in a statement. "Now is the time to come together and address the real challenges that face our country. Our unemployment rate continues to hover at 7.3%, and both parties need to come together, focus on jobs, and negotiate an annual budget that will help the private sector put millions of Americans back to work.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, was with a minority of Republicans who supported the plan, which he first announced in the Gazette.
“As I’ve said all along, this government shutdown was completely unnecessary," Gibson said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. "The bipartisan CR that passed the House on September 30 was simple, fair, and reasonable and should have been enacted, setting the stage for long-term budget negotiations. Instead, it was tabled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who, along with President Obama, said he ‘wasn’t going to negotiate.’ That was the action that shutdown the federal government."
He added that the agreement also overturned a rule from the Obama Administration to ignore verification requirements in the Affordable Care Act. "The provision included in today’s agreement enforces the requirement to verify the income of those receiving subsidies in the healthcare exchange. This is a fundamental and commonsense provision that will combat potential fraud, waste, and abuse," Gibson said.
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