Meadville Tribune

October 17, 2013

Area lawmakers offer statement on vote to end shutdown

Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — All but one local congressman voted “yes” on Wednesday to legislation that will avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown.

Republican Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey voted no, while Democratic Pa. Sen. Bob Casey and Glenn Thompson and Mike Kelly, Republican Pa. representatives whose areas include Crawford County, voted yes.

“The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government,” Toomey said late Wednesday night on his Facebook page. “I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent on defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill will get the shutdown behind us. But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order.”

Casey said he was grateful that the Senate was able to move forward with a bipartisan agreement.

“Pennsylvanians deserve better than the irresponsible brinksmanship they saw over the last few weeks,” Casey said. “I hope this experience will help change the tone in Washington and that members on both sides of the aisle will refocus their efforts on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. I intend to work immediately to push bipartisan legislation to help middle class families like my Small Business Tax Certainty and Growth Act.”

Kelly agreed, saying “The American people deserve and demand a fully functioning government that lives up to its responsibilities.”

“They also rightly demand that their government treat every taxpayer fairly under the law,” Kelly said. “That is what the past several weeks have been all about. That’s why the House acted multiple times to keep the government open in the first place and seized every opportunity to protect Americans from the unfair effects of the president’s health care law along the way.

“While the fight for fairness under Obamacare will endure beyond tonight, Americans can now rest assured that the federal shutdown is over and that a devastating default will not happen. (Wednesday’s) agreement will allow my colleagues and I in Congress to resume the paramount tasks of bolstering job growth, making our outdated tax code fairer and simpler, and finally getting our historically high debt under control. Regardless of the disagreements that persist between the parties and branches here in Washington, it’s time to get back to work and focus on meeting the challenges ahead.”

Thompson said he’s encouraged there is a measure that could get to President Barack Obam’a desk.

“Washington cannot continue to operate in perpetual crisis-mode,” Thompson said. “While this bill only provides a temporary extension to get us back to the negotiating table, I believe this measure was in the best interest of the country and puts us on track to address the larger budgetary issues, including the fundamental flaws of the president’s health care law.”