West Virginia delegates react to end of govt. shutdown - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia delegates react to the bipartisan plan reached to end the partial government shutdown

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With a bipartisan agreement reached to end the 16-day partial government shutdown and avoid a default on the national debt, thousands of workers are now able to return to work.

The Fiscal Year 2014 Continuing Resolution funds the government through January 15, 2014 and suspends the debt limit through February 7, 2014. It would ensure back pay for federal employees and create a bicameral conference committee to report on fiscal issues.

Following the agreement, West Virginia delegates released statements.

In his statement, Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. said, "For now, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief, but this is a temporary respite.  We should hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail before we must revisit these issues early next year."

"There's no doubt that the last two weeks have been a frustrating and difficult time for the people of West Virginia and our nation," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. said. "I have been in the Senate long enough to understand that people have differences of opinion and differing ideas when it comes to how laws should impact the American people. We did our best to rise above the fray by talking to each other and compromising.

"The deal we agreed to today is not perfect but it's a step forward. It will get MSHA personnel back on the job so our miners' safety is no longer at risk. It will provide security for our veterans who need and deserve access to VA services. It will get our intelligence analysts back to work so they can resume their critically important work that prevents terrorist attacks and thwarts attempts to breach our national security. It will begin to repair the loss of confidence in our economy.

"We have to find a way to get on common ground. This is the only way we're going to do big things for our nation, and the only way we can restore the American people's trust in their elected officials and the world's trust in our ability to be a strong and reliable economic partner. Let's learn from this moment, so that when we're asked to make tough decisions again soon, we're focused only on doing good for the people of this great country."

David McKinley, R-W.Va. said, "The American people deserve a solution that ends the partisan bickering, opens the government and ensures we pay our bills on time. While I would prefer a plan that makes more substantial reforms to grow the economy, address our excessive spending and fix the broken health care law, this agreement will allow us to move forward.  

"For the last month, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have demanded a blank check and refused to negotiate," he said. "Fortunately, this plan was forged through negotiations and is not a blank check. It provides a short term extension and includes a long overdue conference on a federal budget. It is vital that Congress address our growing debt and get spending under control. The next step is for the House and Senate to sit down and talk so that we can address this problem.

"In a divided government, both sides have to be willing to give something up. As the minority party in Washington, Republicans control only one half of one body of Congress and we can't impose our will unilaterally. Until Republicans control the White House and the Senate, we simply will not be able to repeal or defund Obamacare. In the meantime, we will continue to work to repair the health care law that is leading to higher premiums, fewer jobs and reduced take-home pay.

"The last few weeks have been a challenging time for our country. We need to get past these budget disagreements and concentrate on creating jobs, growing our economy and ensuring our government lives within its means."

In a press release following the agreement, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. said, "I am pleased that our leaders could put politics aside and come together in a bipartisan way to reach a deal that reopens the government and prevents a first-ever default on our debt. I thank Senator Susan Collins and our group of fourteen bipartisan senators – seven Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent – who helped draft the template of the final budget deal.

"The bottom line is that we managed to avoid this self-inflicted wound to the national and global economy, but it is past time for America to get its financial house in order. We need a bipartisan, big fix like the Bowles-Simpson template that focuses on spending, revenue and reform. I am hopeful that the development of the bipartisan, bicameral budget committee required under this agreement will be a first step in finding a balanced approach to reducing our deficit, balancing our budget and responsibly reining in out-of-control spending."

Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. said, "It is time to reopen the government, and it is clearly not in our country's best interests to default on our debts. This legislation will protect the full faith and credit of the United States, bring government employees back to work for the American people and start a larger discussion on our nation's fiscal issues. West Virginians expect nothing less."