Thompson joined with Casey to end shutdown
Crisis averted, for now.
Following back-to-back votes that extended late into the evening Wednesday, President Obama signed a deal ending the federal government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling shortly after midnight.
It’s a temporary reprieve, however, as the resolution only extended government funding through Jan. 15, a mere 90 days after signing. As for the government’s borrowing limit, Congress suspended the debt ceiling to allow borrowing through Feb. 7, just over three weeks later.
The legislation also included language tightening income verification requirements for those receiving supplements to buy insurance through insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act and launched Oct.1.
Congress also authorized the formation of a bipartisan committee, with a deadline of Dec. 13, to prepare a long-term deficit reduction plan and authorized back pay for furloughed federal workers.
The Senate voted 81-18 for the measure while the House of Representatives passed it 285-144. All no votes in both houses of Congress were cast by Republicans. In the House, the majority of Republicans, 144, voted against the measure with only 87 voting for it.
Locally, two out of three U.S. Congressmen representing Warren County voted for the deal; Sen. Pat Toomey joined a small minority of Republican senators voting against it.
All three issued statements Thursday morning.
Toomey defended his actions saying the measure didn’t address spending in any way.
“The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government,” Toomey said in his press release. “I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent upon defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill gets the shutdown behind us. But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order.”
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party wasted no time condemning Toomey’s vote.
In a Thursday press release the party said, “Senator Toomey has once again shown his extreme ideological colors, this time by backing a U.S. default on its obligations with his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.”
The party also launched a website Thursday dubbed “The Truth About Toomey” which it says, “shows Toomey’s record of obstructionism and extremism stretching back to the ’90s.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey expressed optimism following the vote.
“I am grateful that the Senate was able to move forward with a bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and avoid default,” Casey said in his press release. “Pennsylvanians deserve better than the irresponsible brinkmanship they saw over the last few weeks. I hope this experience will help change the tone in Washington and that members on both sides of the aisle will refocus their efforts on creating jobs and strengthening the economy.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-5, painted the measure as an opportunity for Congress to get back to the business of working on issues.
“I’ve been calling for the political brinkmanship to end,” Thompson said in his press release. “Washington cannot continue to operate in perpetual crisis mode. While this bill only provides a temporary extension to get us back to the negotiating table, I believe this measure was in the best interest of the country and puts us back on track to address the larger budgetary issues, including the fundamental flaws of the President’s health care law.”