Congress Re-opens Gov't; Simpson Supports, Crapo, Risch and Labrador Oppose

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Updated: 10/16/2013 10:40 pm

The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown. Idaho's two senators opposed the measure.

The vote was 81-18 Wednesday night. The House later approved the measure and President Obama signed the bill. All federal employees will return to work Thursday morning and the National Park Service will reopen sites around the country.

In explaining their vote, Senator Mike Crapo and Senator Jim Risch issued a statement saying, "“Americans are justifiably angry with Congress for its failure to come together to provide real solutions to our growing debt crisis,” Crapo said.

“While this measure does some good by preventing a default on the debt, ending the government shutdown, preserving the spending restraints put in place by the Budget Control Act and requiring both houses of Congress to move forward with the long-overdue budget process, it does almost nothing to address our long-term mandatory spending and debt problems or correct the still-unfolding problems with the president’s health care law.  Congress established debt ceilings to provide the opportunity to debate the government’s spending habits.  Unfortunately, continuing resolutions perpetuate the problem of keeping government spending on autopilot.  We cannot continue this unrestrained spending.  It is time to make the hard decisions regarding our dire fiscal situation, and I am going to keep the pressure on to get it done.”

"The United States faces serious long-term debt and spending challenges that we must confront now,” Risch said.  “Sadly this deal kicks the can down the road for three months and I could not support it.  The federal government continues to borrow too much, spend too much, and intrude into the lives of Americans too much.  I hope the President and my Democrat colleagues will offer serious proposals to find a solution instead of turning this situation into another crisis in January."

The U.S. House of Representatives also passed the measure. From Idaho, Republican Representative Mike Simpson voted for the measure while Republican Representative Raul Labrador voted against it.

Simpson released this statement about his vote saying, “The easiest, most politically expedient thing for me to do would have been to vote NO and protect my political right flank,” said Simpson. “Doing so, however, would have been the wrong thing to do for my constituents and our economy. My vote today was about the thousands of people facing layoffs at INL, the multitude of businesses across Idaho that have told me their livelihoods are at stake, and the millions of folks across the country who can’t afford the devastating impacts of default on their investments and retirements. There has to be a way to address our nation’s fiscal problems without making them worse in the process. That is the result I will continue working toward during the time we’ve afforded ourselves with today’s agreement.”

Labrador made this comment on his Facebook page: "I voted against funding ObamaCare and raising the debt ceiling tonight. What Congress passed gets us out of the immediate."

The bill reopens the government through Jan. 15 and permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer.

Congress faced a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. That's when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

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