Congressman Tim Bishop, a Southampton native, joined all of his fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives Wednesday night in voting for an end to the federal government shutdown, in a deal that also raises the nation’s debt ceiling.
Bishop had called for an end to the shutdown all along and co-authored a letter to House Speaker John Boehner demanding a vote.
“I supported this common sense solution to end the destructive government shutdown and remove the cloud hanging over our economy before it did any more damage,” Bishop said in a statement. “A bipartisan agreement almost identical to this legislation was possible weeks ago, but the Tea Party faction running the House GOP recklessly decided to take the American economy hostage for 16 days. As a result of their opposition to reasonable solutions and failure to negotiate in good faith, the unanimous support of Democrats in the House was necessary to enact this agreement.”
Bishop said that, to reduce economic uncertainty and prevent another default scare, he would have preferred a deal that lasted longer.
“Working with others who don’t agree with us is the only way to govern effectively,” Bishop said. “The Tea Party have shown themselves incapable of cooperating not only with Democrats but also moderates in their own party to find common sense solutions.”
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Wednesday, “The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts.”
According to Bishop’s office, the deal keeps the government open through January 15, 2014 and the sequester, which cut government spending across the board, remains intact. Federal borrowing is now expected to stay below the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. The deal also includes back pay for federal workers, reimbursements for states who paid for government functions during the shutdown, and additional income verification for eligibility for Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidies.
The House and Senate must each appoint members to a federal budget conference, which will be required to deliver a report by December 15.