CONCORD — The state’s two U.S. senators voted Friday to avoid shutting down the federal government, but had different explanations for doing so.
Both Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte voted to end debate on the continuing resolution that will allow the federal government to remain open after the federal fiscal year ends Monday.
Shaheen voted for the resolution that passed on a 54-44 vote, allowing spending to continue at current levels and adding the money for the Affordable Care Act that the House refused to include in its version.
“I share the frustration people in New Hampshire have with the obstructionism that has run rampant in Washington and has driven us closer and closer to a government shutdown,” Shaheen said in a statement. “For several months a small group in Congress has refused to go to conference on a budget that responsibly addresses our spending and deficits, leaving us to address critical spending issues at the last minute.”
She said failing to pass the resolution is not an option, as a government shutdown would hurt the economy.
“Ultimately, we need a comprehensive deficit reduction plan so that we can avoid these manufactured crises and keep our economy growing,” Shaheen said.
Ayotte voted to end debate and bring the resolution to a vote but did not vote for the Senate’s version of the resolution. The Senate is expected to take a separate vote on funding the Affordable Care Act at a later date.
“Although I fully support defunding, repealing and replacing Obamacare, I voted for cloture — to move forward with the House bill — because I do not believe shutting down the government is an effective strategy, it simply won’t work. Obamacare would keep going and we would harm the nation,” Ayotte said. “It is unfortunate that the continuing resolution that was passed today by the Senate Democrats breaks the law and exceeds by $20 billion the spending limits enacted two years ago. This is no way to run a government, with short-term spending bills rather than a fiscally responsible budget for the nation.”
She said there has to be a better way to reduce the $17 trillion federal debt, while funding priorities without busting the budget.
The bill returns to the House where House Speaker John Boehner has said it would not be acceptable with funding for the ACA.
Without an agreement between the House and Senate by the end of the day Monday, the federal government will shut down with no authority to spend money.