North Country News
Thu October 17, 2013
Congressional Reaction to Shutdown-Default Deal
Reaction from congressional representatives in Vermont and northern New York to the agreement ending the government shutdown and avoiding default came quickly on Wednesday.
As the Senate voted Wednesday evening to end the partial shutdown and avoid default, New York 21st District Representative Democrat Bill Owens held a conference call with reporters. He said he had read the bill, was satisfied with the agreement, and supported it.
While Owens is glad the process is done, at least temporarily, he feels a solution should have been dealt with weeks ago.
Vermont at-large Democratic Congressman Peter Welch commented on the House floor shortly after the announcement that a deal had been reached. Welch says Congress has finally ended a spectacle based on the proposition that it is legitimate to discuss whether the nation needs to pay its bills.
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he would vote to end what he called the “nightmare” of the past two weeks. But Sanders warns that it is a short term agreement and any new negotiations must not include draconian cuts.
Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, the U.S. Senate President Pro Tem, was harshly critical of what he calls the “extortionist tactics” used by those who supported the shutdown. In a statement released Wednesday, he said: “As the ripples of the Tea Party shutdown have cascaded through every community and across the nation, they have hurt families, workers and businesses everywhere. If this extremist faction had been able to push the United States into default, our economy could have been thrown back into a deep recession. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed in the Senate.....”
Congressman Bill Owens noted that Congress may have forestalled a major economic disaster with the deal and recalled a recent conversation with regional chambers of commerce.
The Senate voted first and passed the measure 81 to 18 at midevening Wednesday. The House followed about two hours later, approving the agreement with a final 285-144 vote. President Obama signed it early Thursday.
Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy.