Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today after House Republicans again refused to allow a vote on the Senate-passed continuing resolution, and instead brought three bills to the floor to fund select parts of the government.
"There is a clear path forward that would swiftly end the government shutdown. It would ensure that our veterans have the resources they deserve, get furloughed New Mexico workers back on the job, and make our public lands available for all. Unfortunately, rather than allow a vote on a clean continuing resolution that could gain bipartisan support, the House Republican leaders and members of the Tea Party are continuing to play political games.
"Bringing up piecemeal bills to fund various aspects of the government while leaving other areas to remain shuttered is no way to responsibly govern. Many in the Tea Party have talked about their desire to defund and get rid of certain government agencies and federal departments. A piecemeal approach gives them that opportunity to deny funding for any area -- from health care to education -- that they oppose.
"The bills brought up tonight would continue to leave New Mexico's workers furloughed. The Republican bills included funding for national parks, but left out vital funding for the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Proper management of our National Forests and public lands are critical after recent fires and flooding. Adding insult to injury, with New Mexico in the middle of hunting season, sportsmen would continue to lose access to public land, and communities would continue to lose vital business.
"In addition, the Republican bill to fund the VA for six weeks is a step backward. If House Republicans were serious about giving our veterans the resources they need, they wouldn't support a short-term bill at sequester levels, but would instead go to conference on the veterans' appropriations bill and send a full-year funding bill to the President. Earlier this year the House passed, with my support, legislation to fund the VA for a full year -- and not at the lower sequester level House Republicans proposed this evening."