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Jeanne S.
Democrat NH

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  • Continuing Appropriations

    by Senator Jeanne Shaheen

    Posted on 2013-09-30

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    SHAHEEN. I wish to thank my colleague from Alaska Ms. Murkowski and also the chair of the Appropriations Committee Senator Mikulski for their comments because I think, as Senator Mikulski said, the majority of the Members in this body believe it is important for us to keep the government open.

    We may disagree about the Affordable Care Act, but one aspect we ought to be able to agree on is that it is in the best interests of this country to keep government open. I believe the same is true in the House; that if the Speaker would bring up the Senate-passed CR, that is clean, that does not have any amendments on it, that extends funding for government through November 15, that accepts the top line numbers for the amount of money we would spend during that period, accept the House numbers, if the Speaker would let that be voted on, on the floor, I think it would pass the House.

    It is unfortunate that he has been unwilling to do that. But the reality is, as both Senators Mikulski and Murkowski said, a shutdown of the government is not just about what we are doing on the floor tonight or what the House is doing, it will have ramifications way beyond that.

    We had a meeting last week with some economists that included former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. One of the things he said to us was that unlike the last government shutdown in 1995, when there was not a real long-term impact from that shutdown, we are looking at a real long-term impact from a potential shutdown. We have already heard Mark Zandi, an economist, say that if it continues longer than a few days, if it continues for weeks, as it did in 1995, it could affect our growth in the fourth quarter over 1 percent.

    At a time when the economy is struggling, we cannot afford to have that kind of a hit to our economy. Families who are seeing their 401(k)s just beginning to recover, pension plans that are beginning to see recovery, cannot afford to have that kind of a hit. We have already seen the stock market reacting. So we know there is going to be an impact.

    [[Page S7043]] In New Hampshire we have 4,000 Federal employees who are going to get furloughed starting tomorrow if we are not able to keep the government open. That affects not just them and their family, that is bad enough, but it affects the grocery stores they frequent. It affects the gas station. It affects every business they are shopping in.

    We know 1,000 small businesses are not going to be able to go to the SBA and look for loans if the government shuts down. We know people are not going to be able to get their mortgages through the Federal Home Loan Agency because it is not going to be operating.

    We know in New Hampshire, as in Alaska, that tourism is going to be hit because visas are not going to get processed. We know that at the Department of Defense, half of their civilian workers are going to be furloughed; in New Hampshire, our Portsmouth Naval Shipyard--in New Hampshire and Maine. I see my colleague from Maine. The shipyard workers are going to get furloughed.

    So this is going to have a huge impact on families, on businesses, on the economy. We cannot afford this kind of political gamesmanship. We have to work together. We have to solve these problems, not just for the future of this country here in America but also for our standing in the world, where the rest of the world is looking at us, asking: What is the matter with the Congress that they cannot solve an issue that they ought to be able to come together to address? I certainly hope in the next couple of hours we can see some progress in the House. I hope the Speaker will bring a clean CR to the floor, will let the Members of the House vote on that so we can keep the government operating for the good of the country.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.

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