UPDATE: Blunt, McCaskill Speak On Senate Vote to Extend Debt Ceiling

By Missourinet

Published 10/16 2013 08:27PM

Updated 10/17 2013 02:56AM

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The U.S. Senate has voted to re-open the government, prevent default, and protect the spending reductions in the Budget Control Act.

Sen. Roy Blunt says simply of the vote, “The federal government spends too much and borrows too much. Those must be the two main targets after today’s vote and until we get our spending under control. Debate priorities, set priorities, and live within our means; that’s what American families have to do and what our government must do.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill says he hopes the agreement can be a blueprint for future cooperation and compromise, and says she’s anxious to get back to work on things that really matter to Missouri families, like creating jobs, fixing our roads, and making college more affordable.

The agreement successfully re-opens the federal government, avoids a federal default, and requires negotiations in Congress toward a final budget agreement. The agreement also keeps the Affordable Care Act intact, the stumbling block that brought Congress to a halt in passing a continuing resolution two weeks ago.

“Let’s learn from this and do better,” McCaskill said in an e-mailed statement.

“More than two weeks ago, U.S. House members shut down the federal government by demanding a dismantling of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for funding federal agencies and refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on a ‘clean’ funding bill free of such policy riders,” McCaskill’s office said. “During that time, nearly 40,000 federal employees in Missouri have been out of work, benefits for Missouri’s veterans have been delayed, vital loans for small businesses have been sidelined, Social Security checks have failed to go out to seniors enrolling in the program for the first time, and parks and offices across the state have been closed.”

McCaskill says she is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and has consistently worked across the aisle to make commonsense improvements to the law as it is implemented-first by successfully removing a burdensome reporting requirement on businesses, then teaming up with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to seek a repeal of a provision that has proved problematic by causing some states to subsidize high wages at hospitals through Medicare reimbursements.

Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) tells Fox News that the House GOP leaders had known the strategy was doomed but had been unable to fight the caucus committed to defunding it.

“John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) both told us in early September that this was doomed to failure, but they had no choice because we had thirty-five or forty Republicans who insisted we follow this path,” he says. “Once the government was shut down, it took away the edge we would have had. If we kept the government open and debated on the debt ceiling, we could have made inroads, we could have made more cutbacks on Obamacare. Over the last ten days, Obamacare has become more popular, which is ridiculous in view of the terrible start up they’ve had.”

King calls Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “the architect” of the shutdown.

“He said that if the House defunded Obamacare and shut down the government, then when it got to the Senate he would take care of it,” King said on Fox. “He was behind the thirty or forty supporters in the House. He’s the one who assumed responsibility, and he’s responsible, also, for the failure.”

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