U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said today he supports the bipartisan bill to end the 16-day government shutdown and avoid default on America's debt just hours before default deadline. The bill was approved by the Senate and is expected to be approved by the House this evening.
"The Senate has just voted to rescue the American people from one of the most reckless and irresponsible actions any political party has ever perpetrated on this country," Miller said. "Like all Americans, I'm relieved that the shutdown of government is over and default on our debts averted -- for now. But this politically motivated, crisis-driven, Republican showdown caused real harm to our children, families, veterans and businesses nationwide and should never have occurred in the first place.
"It is time to move on to critical challenges," Miller added, "like a balanced approach to deficit reduction and economic growth, immigration reform, and early childhood education. No more shutdowns, showdowns, and dangerous threats. Americans want us to work together to solve serious problems and that is what we should start doing right now."
Additional Comments by Rep. Miller are below.
"Here's the Republican strategy that blew up in their face but caused great harm in the process: throw hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, kick children out of preschool programs, and reduce business confidence in an effort to deny millions of Americans access to affordable health insurance. That was it. That's why the government was shut down for two weeks and why America nearly defaulted on its debt for the first time in history.
"Having lost the fight to stop the president's health care law, repeatedly, it is time to move on to critical policy challenges that will help our entire nation, starting with a balanced approach to job creation, deficit reduction and a commitment to avoid future irresponsible crisis-driven showdowns that seriously harm our economy and the American people.
"It is time to move quickly on initiatives delayed by this unnecessary and crippling crisis, like comprehensive immigration reform, college affordability, early childhood education, and job creating investments in technology, local infrastructure, and education. It is time to take decisive action to strengthen the middle class, give working families a raise, and grow our economy.
"First among these challenges will be the goal that I share with many of my colleagues to replace the inequity of the across the board budget cuts, known as the sequester, with a balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction and economic growth through a combination of new revenues and targeted spending cuts. The sequester has placed the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of children and working families more than anyone else in our country, and that injustice cannot be allowed to continue.
"I hope that we have not approved today's bipartisan deal only to have to prepare for another politically-motivated, crisis-driven showdown early next year. That has been the pattern in Congress for more than three years straight, and it has badly hurt our economy and Americans' confidence in their government to solve big problems. At least one recent study found that "crisis-driven fiscal policy,' as we just experienced over the shutdown and the threat of default, directly causes higher unemployment and lower GDP growth. The American people should no longer tolerate one party risking the economy to achieve its political agenda. That type of irresponsible, reckless behavior has hopefully been fully repudiated over the last few weeks and in the bipartisan agreement that Congress will approve today."