House Republicans Continue to Play Political Games with Government Funding

Stung by public outrage expressed by the general public and sinking poll numbers, caused by their manufactured shut down crisis, House Republicans tried and failed to pass three partial funding bills into the U.S. House of Representatives. New Mexico’s Democrats responded by demanding that Republicans stop playing games and pass a clean funding bill which would reopen the government.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement today after House Republicans again refused to allow a vote on the Senate-passed continuing resolution, and instead brought the three bills to the floor to fund only select parts of the government:

Congressman Ben Ray Luján

Congressman Ben Ray Luján

“There is a clear path forward that would swiftly end the government shutdown.  It would ensure that our veterans have the resources they deserve, get furloughed New Mexico workers back on the job, and make our public lands available for all.  Unfortunately, rather than allow a vote on a clean continuing resolution that could gain bipartisan support, the House Republican leaders and members of the Tea Party are continuing to play political games.

“Bringing up piecemeal bills to fund various aspects of the government while leaving other areas to remain shuttered is no way to responsibly govern.  Many in the Tea Party have talked about their desire to defund and get rid of certain government agencies and federal departments.  A piecemeal approach gives them that opportunity to deny funding for any area – from health care to education – that they oppose.

“The bills brought up tonight would continue to leave New Mexico’s workers furloughed.  The Republican bills included funding for national parks, but left out vital funding for the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.  Proper management of our National Forests and public lands are critical after recent fires and flooding.  Adding insult to injury, with New Mexico in the middle of hunting season, sportsmen would continue to lose access to public land, and communities would continue to lose vital business.

“In addition, the Republican bill to fund the VA for six weeks is a step backward.  If House Republicans were serious about giving our veterans the resources they need, they wouldn’t support a short-term bill at sequester levels, but would instead go to conference on the veterans’ appropriations bill and send a full-year funding bill to the President.  Earlier this year the House passed, with my support, legislation to fund the VA for a full year – and not at the lower sequester level House Republicans proposed this evening.”

Commenting on the ongoing Republican government shut down, and the Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico’s First District, a member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement:

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

“Since House Republicans shut down the government, and they have yet to offer a single reasonable, responsible proposal to end the shutdown. While I want nothing more than to provide relief to everyone in New Mexico and across the nation suffering from House Republicans’ irresponsibility, a piecemeal approach is not the answer. The only answer is a clean continuing resolution.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that House Republicans attempted to use veterans as a pawn in order to continue their government shutdown. In fact, the House has already passed a year-long veterans’ appropriations bill, which I voted for, that would provide a higher level of funding for the VA than the temporary fix proposed by House Republicans this evening. If House Republicans truly wanted to protect vital services for veterans, they would allow a vote on the Senate-passed clean continuing resolution so we could end this reckless government shutdown tonight.”