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Elected officials respond to re-opening government, increase debt ceiling

Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

During the ‘Eleventh Hour” passage of a bill re-opening the government until Jan. 15 and increasing the debt ceiling (borrowing money to pay bills) on Wednesday, members of Congress representing this area issued statements.

“After weeks of discussions and trying to reach a conclusion to get the government up and running, the bill that was on the House floor today did nothing to address the nation’s out-of-control spending,” said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3rd District). “I came to Washington with a promise that I would rein in spending and after hearing from my constituents who want the same, I could not vote for legislation that does not begin to tackle the debt. We need to have serious discussions regarding entitlement reform and structural changes to the budget so we can begin to make significant headway on the debt. Americans want Congress to address the drivers of our debt and spending. Simply increasing the nation’s debt limit with no discussion of entitlement reform or serious spending cuts is not the answer.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), said on the Senate proposal would restart federal services and avoid catastrophic default Sen. hopes agreement can be ‘blueprint for cooperation and compromise… Let’s learn from this and do better’

“As we turn the page, I’m anxious to get back to work on the things that really matter to Missouri families—like expanding job opportunities, fixing our roads, and making college more affordable. But we’re only going to achieve those goals through negotiation, compromise, and moderation.

“The agreement reached today between Republican and Democratic Senate leaders would reopen the government, avoid a federal default, and require Senate-House negotiations toward a final budget agreement, while keeping intact the Affordable Care Act.

“More than two weeks ago, U.S. House members shut down the federal government by demanding a dismantling of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for funding federal agencies, and refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on a “clean” funding bill free of such policy riders. During that time, nearly 40,000 federal employees in Missouri have been out of work, benefits for Missouri’s veterans have been delayed, vital loans for small businesses have been sidelined, Social Security checks have failed to go out to seniors enrolling in the program for the first time, and parks and offices across the state have been closed.”

McCaskill, a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, has consistently worked across the aisle to make commonsense improvements to the law as it is implemented—first by successfully removing a burdensome reporting requirement on businesses, then teaming up with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to seek a repeal of a provision that has proved problematic by causing some states to subsidize high wages at hospitals through Medicare reimbursements.

Sen. Roy Blunt responded: “The federal government spends too much and borrows too much. Those must be the two main targets after today’s vote and until we get our spending under control. Debate priorities, set priorities and live within our means. That’s what American families have to do and what our government must do.”

“Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over,” President Barack Obaman said Thursday in the White House Press Briefing room. “The first default in more than 200 years will not happen. These twin threats to our economy have been lifted.”