Tester: Shutdown a symptom Washington dysfunction
Senator: ‘Political grandstanding has replaced actual governing’
(U.S. SENATE) – With the U.S. government on the verge of shutting down, Senator Jon Tester this week spoke on the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to put aside political grandstanding and keep the government open for the sake of their constituents.
The Senate and House of Representatives are arguing over what measures to include in the government funding bill. Without a deal, the government will shut down on Tuesday and government services, such as veterans’ disability claims and business contracts will be stopped or delayed.
FSA county offices and National Parks are also likely to be closed beginning Tuesday if no agreement is reached.
Tester, while holding out hope for a responsible deal, expressed his frustration with members of Congress who are putting “political grandstanding and brinksmanship ahead of common-sense compromise and governing.”
“With a government shut down once again a real possibility, Americans’ frustration is reaching new heights,” Tester said. “For some, a shutdown is another opportunity to shake their heads and bemoan the state of affairs in Washington. They are the lucky ones, because for others, a shutdown will hurt their health, their wallets and their bottom lines.”
Tester noted business owners, working families, and students – among many others – are also being held hostage by what he called “the political whims” of a select few.
“The American people expect members of Congress to make smart, responsible decisions based on the best information we have,” Tester said. “That means advocating for the issues that matter, but also compromising to get something done. That means giving a little, and getting a lot in return. It’s called governing.”
Tester also called out members of Congress who he says should have learned from recent government-caused economic crises, such as 2011’s near government shutdown and unprecedented U.S. credit downgrade.
“Those are lessons some folks around here need to learn,” Tester said. “But here we are, continuing to play politics as regular Americans twist in the wind.”
Even if Congress reaches an agreement before October 1, the day the government is scheduled to run out of money, lawmakers will face another major hurdle in mid-October: raising the nation’s debt limit. Failing to raise the debt limit would prevent the country from paying its bills and downgrade the nation’s credit rating, forcing up interest rates for both the government and regular Americans.
Tester is pushing for long-term budget deal that makes smart spending cuts and reforms the nation’s tax code to put the U.S. on solid financial footing.
A transcript of Tester’s full floor remarks can be found below.