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Eye On Boise

Shutdown ends, default averted, but three of four in Idaho delegation oppose deal

Now comes the news that after 16 days of partial government shutdown, both houses of Congress have approved a deal to end the shutdown and avoid a default on the nation’s debts, and President Barack Obama has signed it into law. Among Idaho’s four-member all-GOP congressional delegation, one voted with the majority to approve the deal – 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson – while all three others were with the minority opposing it. Here are their full statements:

SIMPSON:  “The easiest, most politically expedient thing for me to do would have been to vote NO and protect my political right flank. 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.”

“The fight over Obamacare may now move to another venue, but the fight is far from over. While I strongly believe we should continue working to delay the entire law for one year, I also tend to believe that Obamacare may collapse of its own weight. I don’t think it will work. I don’t believe it will contain costs. I don’t believe it will improve access. And I certainly don’t believe that it can survive the scrutiny it is sure to receive once it is fully implemented and its impacts are fully realized. At that point, Republicans may have a much stronger hand.”

 “This bill, while far from perfect, preserves the progress Republicans have made in reducing spending and moving toward a balanced budget. This bill, while far from perfect, ensures thousands of people in eastern Idaho won’t lose their jobs at INL. This bill, while far from perfect, ends the uncertainty for Idaho businesses that have been impacted by the shutdown and are terrified of default. This bill, while far from perfect, gives Congress the time to approach our budget challenges in an honest, collaborative, comprehensive, and enduring way over the next few months. I am deeply hopeful that we will now look toward a grand bargain, or ‘big’ solution that includes spending cuts, tax reform, and entitlement reform. The American people understand that doing so will require tough decisions, difficult sacrifices, and political courage. I am ready to face those tough decisions and I hope a majority of my colleagues in the House and Senate are ready to do so as well.”

1st DISTRICT REP. RAUL LABRADOR: “Like nearly all of my colleagues, I promised my constituents in 2010 and 2012 that I would fight ObamaCare - not just cast symbolic, meaningless votes – but work hard to roll it back whenever and wherever possible.  I also promised that I would oppose raising the debt ceiling without meaningful cuts to government spending. During the past month, Republicans in Congress have been united on the issue of ‘fairness’ for the American people on health care.  We also stood strong on the debt ceiling, insisting we would not raise it without reducing the debt.  Unfortunately, what Congress is passing today gets us out of the immediate political mess engulfing Washington D.C. without making any substantial changes for the American people."

Sen. Mike Crapo: “Americans are justifiably angry with Congress for its failure to come together to provide real solutions to our growing debt crisis. 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 almost half the spending for the government 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.”

Sen. Jim Risch: "The United States faces serious long-term debt and spending challenges that we must confront now. 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 Senate passed the bill on an 81-18 vote, with 27 Republicans voting yes, and the House passed it on a 285-144 vote, with 87 Republicans voting in favor.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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