All 4 Democrats in NM delegation will support the measure
All four Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation on Wednesday night planned to vote for a bill to reopen the federal government.
The state’s only Republican in Congress, Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs, said he would oppose the measure because it would mean more borrowing and more deficit spending.
“Tonight, the House and Senate are expected to vote on an agreement to end the shutdown. The good news is that this challenging time for New Mexicans seems to be over. The bad news is that the agreement does not end the double standard for Washington, nor does it change our nation’s dangerous course of reckless spending,” said Pearce, above.
“While I am happy that furloughed employees can go back to work, I will not be able to support tonight’s legislation, which does nothing to address the problems we were elected to solve.”
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, right, said the bill ending the government shutdown offered a short-term solution that should have been achieved long ago without any disruption in government services.
In a telephone interview, Heinrich, D-Albuquerque, said nothing in the proposed deal was groundbreaking. He said each component was available previously, but House Republicans pressed for the shutdown as leverage to defund President Obama’s healthcare law.
“New Mexico has paid a large price for this game of chicken. It was completely reckless” Heinrich said.
Standard & Poor’s, financial ratings company, estimated Wednesday that said the shutdown had removed $24 billion from the U.S. economy in 16 days.
Heinrich said he hoped that the compromise would be a building block for cooperation between the House and Senate in agreeing on a budget.
Doing so would put Congress in a practical position to make the government function more smoothly, he said.
Even with a deal seemingly close at hand, Heinrich said there was no cause for celebration.
“I agree with the sentiment that there are no winners here,” he said.
New Mexico’s senior senator, Democrat Tom Udall, was more upbeat.
"Reason has finally prevailed in Congress, and we have a bipartisan agreement that will enable us to reopen the government, pay our bills and begin to restore the damage the shutdown caused to our economy. I'm also pleased the agreement includes a provision I fought for that will ensure retroactive pay for those federal workers in New Mexico and across the country who were furloughed through no fault of their own.”
Udall said he hoped that Congress had reached a turning point that would lead to more bipartisan cooperation.
The compromise bill would reopen the government, fund it through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling on federal borrowing until Feb. 7.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-Santa Fe, said the deal was imperfect but essential.
“While I would have preferred legislation that extends the debt limit for a longer period and that funds the government at a higher level, this represents a compromise that will finally end the government shutdown that has hurt families in New Mexico...” Lujan said.
He said the compromise would “protect the full faith and credit of our nation by ensuring we do not default for the first time in history.”
Like Heinrich, Lujan said the shutdown was unnecessary and hurt people needlessly.
He said the compromise “puts an end to the political games that have gone on too long. It is deeply disappointing that, once again, manufactured crises have taken a toll on our economy and on the day-to-day lives of people in New Mexico who have had to go without a paycheck or the benefits they count on.”
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-Albuquerque, said she was eager to end the shutdown.
“I look forward to voting for the Senate’s bipartisan agreement that will reopen the government, put furloughed New Mexicans back to work, prevent furloughs at Sandia and Los Alamos national labs and avert a catastrophic debt default,” she said.
She said the compromise would be valuable in another sense.
“This agreement puts us on a path to negotiate a longer-term budget that replaces sequestration’s damaging cuts with a balanced approach to deficit reduction and that reflects the priorities that matter most to New Mexicans: creating good-paying jobs and growing the economy,” Lujan Grisham said.