Lawmakers react to debt, budget deal - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Lawmakers react to debt, budget deal

WASHINGTON (WVVA) - The following comments were issues by lawmakers representing the Two Virginias regarding Wednesday's passage of debt/budge legislation by Congress:

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.: "For now, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief, but this is a temporary respite.  We should hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail before we must revisit these issues early next year, and that the Majority in the House of Representatives will not revive the threat of a shutdown and default to extract political concessions.   Such tactics are reckless and completely at odds with the Constitutional oath to which every Member has sworn, and I hope that my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will stand up to those extremists who would put their personal political fortunes above the collective well-being of the Nation."

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.: "In our legislative process, each side must give up some priorities to come to a common agreement.  Over the past several weeks, my colleagues and I made numerous attempts to compromise, but the President and the Democrat-controlled Senate never negotiated in good faith with House Republicans.  In fact, while House Republicans were considering a proposal that would have only required the President and his political appointees to live under Obamacare like the rest of the American people, the President told House Democrats that he would veto any debt ceiling bill that included that provision.  If Obamacare is good for the goose, why is it not good for the gander?*  Further, the final agreement's only ‘concession' to Republicans is that the Administration follow what is in existing law – that Americans receiving taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies be required to verify that they meet income eligibility requirements.

"However, Republicans don't control the White House or the Senate, and we did not win this Obamacare battle.  But I continue to believe that the health care law is a train wreck that can not and will not work, and remain committed to seeing it repealed and replaced. 
"It is true that this evening's Senate amendments raise the debt ceiling for nearly four months and put us on a track to negotiations to agree to a budget for the first time since 2009.  But the President, who once called letting the debt rise unchecked ‘unpatriotic,' has been insisting that he won't negotiate over raising the debt ceiling.  While hopeful, I am skeptical that the President and Senate will change course, and come to the table to constructively work with Republicans to rein in the federal government's spending addiction.  We need a clear, disciplined, well-thought-out spending reduction plan in order to decrease our deficits and our debt, preventing us from further burdening future generations of Americans with excessive debt.  For that reason and others, I could not in good conscience vote in favor of the Senate amendments."

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.: "There's no doubt that the last two weeks have been a frustrating and difficult time for the people of West Virginia and our nation. Because a small group of Republican House members decided to create a crisis over their objections to the health care law, families have been put at risk along with the full faith and credit of the U.S. I have been in the Senate long enough to understand that people have differences of opinion, and differing ideas when it comes to how laws should impact the American people. Although in the past, elected leaders in Congress took seriously their obligation to govern. We did our best to rise above the fray by talking to each other and compromising.
"I urge all those who manufactured this shutdown and brought us to the brink of default to think again about carrying on with their tactics. We're going to find ourselves in this same situation before long, so they need to be prepared to act differently. This reckless behavior is unsustainable and it's no way to seriously run a government. Politics has a place in our system and that's fine. But when it becomes so paralyzing that it causes our government to shut down, and puts our nation's reputation in jeopardy, politics has gone too far.
"The deal we agreed to today is not perfect but it's a step forward. It will get MSHA personnel back on the job so our miners' safety is no longer at risk. It will provide security for our veterans who need and deserve access to VA services. It will get our intelligence analysts back to work so they can resume their critically important work that prevents terrorist attacks and thwarts attempts to breach our national security. It will begin to repair the loss of confidence in our economy.
"We have to find a way to get on common ground. This is the only way we're going to do big things for our nation, and the only way we can restore the American people's trust in their elected officials and the world's trust in our ability to be a strong and reliable economic partner. Let's learn from this moment, so that when we're asked to make tough decisions again soon, we're focused only on doing good for the people of this great country."

Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va: "Tonight, Congress voted to fulfill its two most basic obligations: run the government and pay its bills. This is not an accomplishment to celebrate. It is merely the return of the basic functioning of our federal government after two weeks of grandstanding and delay. It is also disappointing that tonight's votes aren't even final steps, but rather, just another kick of the can down the road when it comes to addressing America's most pressing budget, debt and spending challenges. Just like no one applauds an employee for simply showing up to work, no one should be praising Washington for simply agreeing to stay open and pay its debts. It remains shocking that for over four years the President has failed to rein in our national debt and lead on entitlement reform, and the Congress has failed to jointly pass a budget.
"Our nation faces a number of domestic and foreign policy challenges in the years ahead. The national debt continues to grow recklessly, and we all know that our entitlement programs must be dramatically reformed if they are to remain solvent and available for future generations. Fixing these issues requires statesmanship and strong leadership. That will not occur if we keep careening from one crisis to another. The people of this Commonwealth and this country are tired of the hyper-partisanship and the inability of the federal government to live within its means. It is time for leaders in both parties, and the President, to sit down together and find common ground. We cannot reach mid- January and face yet another deadline and continuing resolution spectacle like this one. We cannot find ourselves in early February again debating the debt ceiling. It is time for bold leadership in Washington and long-term agreements that put this great country on the sound fiscal footing we need to remain prosperous in an increasingly competitive world. I strongly urge the President and Congress to move towards a balanced budget amendment, which appears to be the only prescription to force spending restraint and entitlement reform, and set the country on a responsible fiscal path.
"Now that this shutdown has thankfully come to an end, we ask Virginians to contact the appropriate federal entities to obtain information on when specific agencies and services will reopen. All furloughed state employees are expected back on the job very shortly."

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.: "I am pleased that our leaders could put politics aside and come together in a bipartisan way to reach a deal that reopens the government and prevents a first-ever default on our debt. I thank Senator Susan Collins and our group of fourteen bipartisan senators – seven Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent – who helped draft the template of the final budget deal.
"The bottom line is that we managed to avoid this self-inflicted wound to the national and global economy, but it is past time for America to get its financial house in order. We need a bipartisan, big fix like the Bowles-Simpson template that focuses on spending, revenue and reform. I am hopeful that the development of the bipartisan, bicameral budget committee required under this agreement will be a first step in finding a balanced approach to reducing our deficit, balancing our budget, and responsibly reining in out-of-control spending."

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