In the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act and the government shutdown, one thing that has been lost is how much the Senate has compromised on the budget, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp said Republicans in the House have been able to make the debate about Obamacare and not the budget although the budget is the reason for the shutdown.
Heitkamp called on House Republicans to pass a clean spending bill at Republican levels, saying unrelated provisions like the nation’s healthcare law should not be an issue.
“I’m sick and tired of such partisan political tactics getting in the way of the real work Congress should be doing,” Heitkamp said. “ Senate Democrats have already compromised a great deal — yet this seems to get lost in all the political banter. Senate Democrats have been compromising and negotiating in good faith and are now trying to fund the federal government at Republican-proposed spending levels. And Senate Democrats have tried 18 times to negotiate an agreement on the budget, but have time and time again been rejected by Republicans. Now it’s time for House Republicans to stop their extreme and unreasonable tactics, make a true compromise and pass a clean bill to fund the federal government at the spending levels they called for.”
Heitkamp said the original Senate budget called for discretionary spending of just more than $1.05 trillion. The House budget authored by Paul Ryan called for discretionary spending of $967 billion. The continuing resolution passed by the Senate had a price tag of $986 billion, showing Republicans have won the budget battle, Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp also announced that during the shutdown she would donate her salary to a North Dakota charity.
“Right now, federal workers across our state and the country who chose to work in public service have been forced to go without pay — including my Senate staff. It’s only fair that I not receive a salary during that time as well,” she said.
As the shutdown stretches into a second week, Heitkamp said there is too much important work to do allow fighting to shut things down.
“Instead of debating whether to fund the government or not, we should be working together to pass a farm bill, reduce flood insurance rates which just went up for millions of families, and debate many other issues,” said Heitkamp. “I hope House Republicans will agree to pass a clean bill to fund the federal government as soon as possible so federal services will resume, employees can come back to work and Congress can focus on other pressing issues.”