Chautauqua County’s Congressman says its now up to the U.S. Senate to decide if it wants to avoid a government shutdown by the end of this month.
During his weekly conference call on Monday, Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) explained that he is in support of avoiding a government shutdown, so long as funding for the Affordable Care Act is also removed from the federal budget.
Last week, Reed joined his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting for a resolution that would continue funding for several government programs, but part of the bill also calls for the elimination of funding for Obamacare. The bill is now in the Senate for its consideration.
On Monday, Reed said that if the Senate doesn’t act on the bill, there’s a very good chance that several key government services and agencies will run out of funding and will have to shut down.
“The two immediate concerns I have, first and foremost, are men and women in the military – making sure that they get paid because with a government shutdown they would not… as well as our seniors,” Reed explained. “But also I think its important to put it into focus is that what we’re talking about with government shutdown is a very small portion of the federal government’s budget. We have $3.6 trillion that we spend every year and really, this area that causes the government shutdown is about $400 billion.”
Reed said that he wants to make sure that should a government shutdown happen, both seniors and veterans are taken care of. Last week, Reed introduced a bill called the Pay Our Veterans and Seniors First Act – which would, in the event of a government shutdown, ensure that veterans and seniors are paid before anyone else.
“We need to make our veterans, our men and women in military service, as well as our seniors a priority,” Reed said. “That would require under my proposed legislation that we in congress and the president and executive staff go without pay and make sure that our veterans and seniors are paid first.”
Reed said that if a compromise is reached to keep the government open before Sept. 30, then his bill would be moot.
The House’s emergency spending bill has moved on to the Senate, although democrats in the upper chamber have said that they would not support any resolution that calls for the removal of funding for Obamacare, which means there’s a good chance the two sides will have reached a stalemate on the issue and the government shutdown could take place.