Citing an unwillingness to “kick the can down the road,” U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River, voted against a bill Wednesday that ended the 17-day federal government shutdown and prevented the nation from potentially defaulting on its debts.
The bipartisan bill, which temporarily funds the federal government and allows it to continue borrowing money, passed with an 81-percent majority in the U.S. Senate — where it was drafted — and a nearly two-thirds majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Walden, who serves the Second Congressional District, is the sole Republican member of Congress serving Oregon and was the only member of the Oregon delegation who voted against the bill. As chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Walden was one of the higher-ranking Republicans to vote down the deal.
The bill that ended the shutdown also funds the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and pushes back the debt ceiling deadline until Feb. 7, 2014. In the meantime, a congressional committee will work out a longer-term budget deal.
“This temporary plan does nothing to address the epic problem: spending borrowed money we don’t have and cannot sustain,” Walden said in a written statement issued Thursday:
“It kicks the can down the road yet again for only three months, and we’ll be right back where we ended up this week,” Walden said. “Enough is enough. Every day, families throughout Oregon and the country sit down around their kitchen tables to balance their budgets and discuss crises and practical ways to resolve them. It’s long overdue that Washington, D.C. do the same.”
Other Oregon members of Congress also had plenty to say about the shutdown:
n Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Portland, Fifth District): “While I am pleased that Congress finally ended the government shutdown and avoided an economic disaster, we will be right back in crisis mode three months from now if we do not immediately address the fiscal problems our country faces in the near and long-term.”
n Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Portland): “After two and a half long weeks, common sense has finally prevailed in Washington.
Although it is a good thing for our economy that Congress has reached an agreement to reopen the government and prevent a default on our debt, Congress fulfilling its most basic duties is not cause for celebration.”
n Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Portland): “With this disruptive and counterproductive government shutdown finally over and the threat of default delayed, it’s time for people to work together regardless of party on the issues most important to Oregonians and our nation - tax reform, job creation and improving affordable health care.”
n Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D, Beaverton, First District) “The bipartisan deal to reopen the government and avoid defaulting on federal obligations will allow us to avert an economic crisis, but we must recognize that too much damage has already been done.
The government shutdown was unnecessary and harmful to public and private sector employees, businesses, and families across Oregon and the country.”