NY Congressional Reps Have Different Approaches To Opening Government

Oct 3, 2013

Credit opensourceway/flickr

As the nation endures day three of the partial federal government shutdown, New York’s congressional representatives from the Hudson Valley say they’re trying to open all the closed doors. 

The shutdown corresponds with the beginning of Affordable Care Act enrollment. House Republicans have sought to defund or delay the law as part of any budget talks, resulting in the shutdown. A meeting Wednesday night with President Obama and congressional leaders to get the government back to full working order came up empty. Thursday morning, House members from both sides of the aisle were discussing a way to move forward, discussing measures that in part evolved from the bipartisan No Labels group of some 80 House and Senate members, Republican Congressman Chris Gibson among them. Here’s Gibson spokeswoman Stephanie Valle:

She says despite his opposition to the health care legislation, he could not vote on an 11th hour resolution to shut down the government.

She says New York Congressman Richard Hanna from the Utica area is the other. She adds:

Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey supports a so-called clean budget bill that would end the partial federal government shutdown.

CR stands for continuing resolution. Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, adds:

She says her district – a large portion of Westchester County and all of Rockland County – is suffering, as the shutdown leaves Head Start centers unfunded and small businesses without access to federal capital. There is one effect she says that took her aback.

Federal disaster aid could be another casualty of the shutdown, For example, in the case of Hurricane Sandy aid, while the funds are there, the question is whether specific staffers who handle the distribution of this aid, in the region and the headquarters, are furloughed. Lowey says the longer the shutdown, the greater the potential that Sandy aid could be disrupted. Disaster funds already distributed are unaffected, but funds not yet distributed may be delayed.

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney penned a letter Wednesday to the chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives, asking that his pay be withheld during the shutdown. Congresswoman Lowey is also declining a paycheck. Congressman Gibson has suspended his pay and supports back pay for federal workers who are furloughed. Both Maloney and Gibson have furloughed staff members. Maloney’s Newburgh office remains open, while Gibson’s Kinderhook, Kingston, and Liberty offices remain open. Gibson’s Cooperstown, Delhi, and Hyde Park offices are closed.