State reps issue statements on their vote, government reopens - CBS46 News

State reps issue statements on their vote, government reopens

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WASHINGTON (CBS46) -

President Barack Obama signed a bill to end the two and a half week government shutdown and the federal government is once again open for business.

By a vote of 285-144, the House passed a bill Wednesday to keep the government funded through the New Year, setting up another possible budget battle in January.

The bill had previously passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 81-18.

The United States Senators for Georgia released statements from U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, who both voted for the legislation.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA:

"I applaud Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell for their work to reopen the government and prevent a default on our nation's obligations. While this is certainly not the deal Republicans hoped for, it is the best deal we could negotiate under the circumstances.

"I agree with my fellow Republicans and the American people that Obamacare is a deeply flawed and damaging law. I remain as committed as ever to dismantling Obamacare before it has a chance to further damage our economy.

"However, defunding Obamacare in the CR was never a realistic goal. Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, and the president has the power to veto. Shutting down the government only placed undue stress on Americans and on the economy, and lost Republican's advantage to negotiate on the debt ceiling.

"Our fiscal crisis is the most important challenge we face. While I don't believe Congress should allow a potentially catastrophic default by the federal government, I do believe that any increase in the debt ceiling should have come with policy reforms and assurances that future spending and deficits are being addressed in a meaningful way. If Republicans had chosen to use the debt ceiling as an opportunity to force action on our debt and deficit, we could have won more spending cuts and significant reforms to entitlements. Instead, we took no concrete steps toward reducing America's public debt, and simply preserved the spending cuts we won in 2011.

"For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy. We will have another opportunity to address the debt ceiling in the coming months, and I hope my colleagues across-the-aisle and across-the-capitol will stop the partisan posturing and begin working together to retire our nearly $17 trillion debt."

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA:

"These past few weeks should be a wake-up call. It's time that Congress gets back to doing our job of budgeting, appropriating, and conducting oversight to address our unsustainable debt and deficits. That's why I have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, with Sen. Shaheen that would reform our nation's broken budget process and restore fiscal discipline.

"Today's bipartisan agreement reopens the federal government through January 15 and sets up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan. I'm pleased that the bill averts a default while preserving and protecting the historic government spending cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 that have resulted in the largest spending cuts in 50 years. I am also very pleased that this bill will help prevent fraud and abuse by strengthening income verification measures to determine who will be eligible for subsidies under Obamacare."

However, U.S. Representative Rob Woodall, who represents the seventh congressional district of Georgia, opposed the legislation and released the following statement:

"I'm disappointed that we couldn't get the White House to the negotiating table on any of the big issues facing America. I'm disappointed that the Senate continues to stall and delay rather than engage and move solutions forward. The House stood strong for as long as we had the votes to do so. We pressed hard for America's priorities every day. Over and over again, the House reached out to the Senate and the President to try to find common ground, and each time we were rebuffed. The result being that American government will continue without change, federal spending will continue on without change, and federal borrowing will increase to more than $17 trillion. Our children deserve so much better. I know that since the Senate and the White House disagree with so many of our Georgia priorities that we will not achieve all of our goals, but we can move forward step by step, little by little, and make a difference for America on some of our shared goals. Now that the shutdown is over, the President has changed his message from ‘I will never negotiate' to ‘I am happy to negotiate.' America needs him to keep his word, and I intend to hold him to it."

Rep. John Lewis, D-GA:

"It was a shame and a disgrace that the government of the most powerful nation on earth was recklessly shutdown and allowed to slip perilously close to default. However, I am glad that tonight the great majority of the members of the House and Senate finally came together and did the right thing. We passed a clean bill, as we should have had an opportunity to do days ago. We simply restored the government to normal functioning and raised the debt limit so this country can pay its bills on time, as it has for over 230 years.

"Today Standards and Poors released a report estimating $24 billion in damage to our economy from this unnecessary crisis. Many federal workers, small businesses and institutions, schools, families, and children have suffered. We may never fully understand the anguish and uncertainty they experienced, not knowing when they would get paid or when they would receive the services they should expect as citizens. We must never let this happen again. It is irresponsible to govern from crisis to crisis.

"The Congress of the United States of America must operate for the good and in the interests of all of the people of this land, and not to satisfy the will of a few."

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