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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA

Tonight I Voted to Reopen Our Government and Pay Our Bills

Oct 16, 2013
Dear Friends,

The government shutdown and default crisis is finally coming to a close. Tonight the House and Senate passed a bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and make sure the United States pays its bills on time. The legislation, H.R. 2775 passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 285-144. 198 Democrats and 87 Republicans voted to pass the bill. The Senate passed the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 81-18. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

The legislation funds the government through January 15, 2014, extends the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014, requires income verification for recipients of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act's exchanges, and provides backpay to furloughed federal workers. The agreement also requires a bipartisan, bicameral budget conference to come up with long-term spending plans by December 13.

Over the past few weeks I have heard from many people with many different views. However, there was one universal theme: overwhelming frustration with Congress. I understand that frustration, and believe me - no one has been more frustrated than me.

As many of you know, Tea Party leaders planned months ago to use a government shutdown and the threat of default as leverage to derail health care reform - a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, mandated by a national election, and upheld by the Supreme Court. The CEO of the Tea Party group named Heritage Action for America admitted that at the start of the year, they felt strongly that this was a fight they were going to pick. Unfortunately, they did pick this fight and the impacts of this strategically planned crisis have been staggering.

It has cost our economy $4.8 billion. It has prevented Congress from focusing on important national issues such as job creation, gun violence prevention, immigration reform, the Farm Bill, a balanced budget, economic growth and fiscal responsibility. And it has eroded the faith people have in our institution of representative government, both at home and around the world.

After achieving nothing, this manufactured and unnecessary crisis is ending. I applaud the Senate for working across the aisle to reach an agreement, and I am glad that some responsible Republicans in the House joined with Democrats in voting to reopen our government and pay America's bills. We can now get back to making sure seniors can apply for Social Security, veterans can have their claims processed, small businesses can get loans, and life-saving medical research can continue.

While today's deal avoids the worst, it's far from the best we could have done. We cannot continue engaging in partisan brinkmanship and governing from crisis to crisis.

Our nation faces serious fiscal and economic challenges and they need to be met by serious and responsible solutions. The best way to get our debt and deficit under control is through a balanced approach that cuts spending, requires everyone to pay their fair share, creates jobs, and protects the longevity of important programs like Social Security and Medicare.

I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we develop a balanced plan that puts our nation on a long-term, fiscally sustainable path.

Thank you and if I may ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Member of Congress