North Country New York Democratic Congressman Bill Owens, in a conference call with reporters hours after the federal government shut down over a budget impasse, said Congress has forgotten the importance of civilian workers.
“When we did our appropriations hearing and we had in the Joint Chiefs, they said to a branch of the service, ‘Civilian workers are critical to the mission.’ And clearly Congress has forgotten that, but the Joint Chiefs has not. And I certainly have not forgotten that, and I think that the way the civilian workforce has been treated is abominable… in this particular situation. In addition to the impact on those individuals, there is also a community impact. That kind of anxiety creates all kinds of issues for people but it also has a negative economic impact. Because people stop spending money when in that situation. So this has a wide spectrum of negative outcomes and we need to start acting responsibly.”
Owens added that Speaker of the House John Boehner has helped to stop the process of passing a budget that both the House and Senate can agree on.
“Unfortunately, we are in a situation where a relatively small group of people, and I know lots of good, solid, rational Republicans on the other side of the aisle who are prepared to do a sensible rational bill. And unfortunately, right now, Mr. Boehner is being negatively impacted by a small group of people who are able to, if you will, control the agenda, and have really ground the process to a halt. Which I think is absolutely irresponsible.”