FAIRFIELD — Solano County’s primary congressional representative said Monday that attempts by Republicans in Congress to tie passage of a federal budget to implementation of the federal health care law are misplaced and will harm the economy.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy secretary of the Interior Department during the last government shutdown in the 1990s.
Prior to the partial government shutdown, which began at midnight Tuesday, Garamendi in a prepared statement said such a shutdown “would be deeply harmful for our country” and would seriously disrupt essential services, “knocking our economy down at a time when we should be building it up.”
He said more than a million workers for the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, National Parks, public health agencies, federal law enforcement, financial regulation, the Agriculture Department, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies will be furloughed, “preventing them from protecting and serving the public.”
“This will really hurt a variety of sectors in our economy, including agriculture, tourism, federal contractors, energy and biotech,” Garamendi said. “The possibility of a shutdown has already caused stocks to tumble and business to put plans for hiring on hold.”
Garamendi said the GOP’s attempts to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act are misplaced.
“Republican governors and senators, conservative newspapers, Wall Street and major business groups have repeatedly and clearly warned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives against shutting down the government in an attempt to defund and delay the Affordable Care Act,” Garamendi said. “Ironically, the Affordable Care Act will continue even with a shutdown.”
Garamendi said there are ways to change the federal health care law that fall short of a partial government shutdown.
“Every law can be improved, but it should be done through a regular legislative process – not by taking the American economy hostage.,” he said.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, released a similar message as debate continued Monday in the House of Representatives.
“Shutting down the government at midnight because Democrats want to make sure folks can afford health insurance is reckless and irresponsible,” Thompson said in a prepared statement. “Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, I have said that I am open to making improvements to the law.”
Thompson characterized the actions of the House majority as “a dereliction of duty and a total disregard for responsible governance,” laying the majority of the blame for a partial government shutdown at the feet of the tea party.
Garamendi represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Fairfield, Suisun City and Vacaville, and Travis Air Force Base. Thompson represents the 5th Congressional District, which includes western Solano County just west of Vacaville and Fairfield into Vallejo.
Reach Glen Faison at 427-6925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.