Alaskan Congressman Don Young has joined several other Members who were in the House during the 1995 and 1996 federal government shutdowns, in a "Dear Colleague" letter to all other House Members. The group pledged support for the efforts of Speaker John Boehner to seek the largest possible spending reductions while still keeping the government open and operating.
The text of the letter is below:
Congress is facing a crucial decision this week on how to keep our government operating while trying to reduce our $1.5 trillion deficit for Fiscal Year 2011.
As members who experienced the federal government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, we are accurately aware of how those events angered the American people. We have urged leaders to do whatever they can to avoid this kind of disruption again.
We commend Speaker Boehner for his extraordinary efforts to find a way to keep our government operating, even as we do our best to rein in the runaway spending that has brought record deficits. Most Americans will agree that our Republican leaders have worked hard to find a solution to this crisis.
At the same time, we are dismayed by the cynical response from Senate Majority Leader Reid and his lieutenants. They have never once before put forward a plan of how they would cut spending, and in fact have not passed a single bill that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
Instead, all we have received is the kind of calculated partisan rhetoric that reporters heard Sen. Chuck Schumer urge his colleagues to use on a conference call. Schumer made it clear that the Senate Democratic leadership is not interested in finding a solution, but is intent on forcing a shutdown in the hopes of scoring partisan political points.
We hate the idea of a shutdown- we really don't want to go through that again.
But even more, we hate the idea of leaving trillions and trillions of dollars in debt to our children and grandchildren. We cannot continue a course that will allow government to eat away at our economy.
So we say to Sen. Reid and Sen. Schumer: Cutting spending is not a "Tea Party" thing. It is not a "hard-core conservative freshman" thing. It is the kind of responsible action that all Americans have elected us to do in Congress.
Howard "Buck" McKeon