- Created on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:39
- Written by IVN
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke on the floor following the Senate vote to avert a Republican government shutdown. She highlighted the devastating consequences for California and the nation if Republicans insist on shutting down the government or defaulting on America’s debt.
Senator Boxer also spoke about her “No Budget, No Pay” legislation – S. 55 – which would prevent Members of Congress from being paid during a shutdown of the federal government.
To see video of the speech, click here.
The following are Senator Boxer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
The Senate took action today to keep the government open and protect the American people from the terrible effects of a shutdown, which was the right thing to do.
Now it’s up to the House to follow suit and stop this dangerous game that has such devastating consequences for our country.
Unfortunately, House Republicans are on a disastrous course.
They keep saying they don’t want to shut down the government, but everything they do is leading down that path.
They keep saying they don’t want to default on our nation’s debt, but everything they do is leading us toward a catastrophic default.
We’ve been down this road before and we know what happened.
When Newt Gingrich and the Republicans shut down the government, we all know what happened.
It hurt our country. It hurt our economy. It hurt our seniors, our veterans, our businesses. It hurt the American people.
How does it help our economy when Mark Zandi predicts that a shutdown lasting just a few days would reduce GDP growth by two-tenths of a point?
How does it help our economy when more than a million federal employees, 169,000 in California, are furloughed without pay?
How does it help our economy when we know the last shutdowns cost the federal government $1.4 billion – more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. Already, agencies are making their shutdown plans, and federal employees are preparing to be furloughed or work without pay.
How does it help our seniors when the Social Security Administration cannot process benefits for retirees? Social Security should be there. When someone is widowed and needs benefits, Social Security should be there for her.
How does it help our seniors when Medicare can’t take any new patients? In the last shutdown, they were turning away 10,000 people a day.
How does it help our veterans and their families when new disability and GI Bill claims cannot be processed? It hurts them.
How does it help our small businesses when they can’t bid on government contracts or get small business loan through the Small Business Administration? It hurts them.
How does it help the more than 14,000 government contractors in California, who might not get paid for their work on time? They will be hurt and hurt badly. They have bills to pay – and employees to pay – and they won’t be able to pay them.
How does it help our health when the EPA cannot clean up toxic Superfund sites? That harms our families.
How does it help our fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s when the NIH cannot enroll patients in drug trials?
How does it help when the CDC cannot monitor new avian flu cases?
How does it help our hotels and restaurants in California, when tourist visas cannot be processed? It hurts.
How does it help a family who saves all year for a big trip to Yosemite to close all the national parks – and families are turned away and children cry with disappointment?
How does it help a family buy a house when the FHA can’t process their loan? The American Dream of owning a home is postponed.
How does it help a single mom when she can’t get help from HHS in collecting child support to feed her children?
How does it help the families in Colorado, their homes and roads and bridges destroyed by flooding, when the National Guard can’t start work until the government re-opens? It’s dangerous.
How does it help our schoolkids who come to Washington to learn about our great nation and our history, and they find everything shut down?
And here’s the ultimate outrage: These Senate and House members who want to shut down the government will get paid during a government shutdown.
In March 2011, the Senate unanimously passed S. 388, the Boxer-Casey bill to prevent members of Congress and the President from getting paid in the event of a government shutdown or default.
It is a simple bill. Let me read it to you:
“Members of Congress and the President shall not receive basic pay for any period in which there is more than a 24-hour lapse in appropriations for any Federal agency or department as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or a continuing resolution, or if the Federal Government is unable to make payments or meet obligations because the debt limit has been reached.”
Shortly after our bill passed the Senate, Senator Casey and I wrote a letter signed by 14 of our colleagues to Speaker Boehner asking that he immediately bring up and pass our bill.
In that letter, we wrote:
“Members who want to shut down the government should not continue to receive a paycheck while the rest of the nation suffers the consequences. Members of Congress and the President should be treated no differently than every other federal employee; we too should have to face the consequences of our actions.”
Unfortunately the House did not act. And that is why we have reintroduced this legislation in the 113th Congress.
I call on my Senate colleagues to cosponsor this bill – S.55 – and send a strong signal to the House they we should not be getting paid while so many Americans are forced to suffer the consequences of their inaction.
And I want to ask: How is that Republicans who are urging a shutdown of the government are not cosponsors of my bill?
They want to protect their own pay, they want to protect themselves and their families, but they don’t seem to care about the single mom who works as a custodian in one of our government buildings who is struggling to get by.
They don’t seem to care about the middle class – the workers at the FBI who protect us from harm, the workers at CDC who protect us from disease, the food inspectors who keep our food safe.
These Republicans are willing to put the livelihoods of millions of American workers at risk – but not their own.
And why are they doing this? Because of their obsession with the Affordable Care Act. Because of their obsession with denying health care to millions of Americans.