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Public Statements

Letter to John Boehner, Speaker of the House - Government Shutdown

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

As lawmakers from both parties begin to negotiate a long-term budget agreement, 178 Democrats in the House are calling on Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership to publicly declare that they will not use the threat of another government shutdown or default on U.S. debt as a political tactic in the budget talks. The first public meeting of the 29-member bipartisan House-Senate Budget Conference Committee was held on Wednesday, October 30th.

Underscoring the economic damage caused by the recent shutdown, the group of lawmakers said that Congress must focus on passing a responsible budget agreement while taking the crippling twin threats of a shutdown and default off the table.

Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, who signed the letter, said that both parties must come together to agree upon reasonable solutions that serve the best interest of all Americans. "In the coming weeks, we have an opportunity to work across the aisle to develop a fair and responsible fiscal budget that protects the American people. It is time to work together for the sake of our country, economy and for the American families that rely on us. This is why I and 177 members of Congress signed onto a letter that guarantees we create a sound budget with no strings attached." stated Congressman Veasey.

The Congressional agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling was a temporary fix and the joint Senate/House budget committee is working to reconcile two different versions of a 2014 spending bill to avoid a January shut down. As the current Continuing Resolution funds the government through January 15, 2014 and the debt limit agreement lasts until February 7, 2014, we face the potential of another fiscal showdown.

The full text of the group's letter is below:

October 31, 2013

Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

The 16-day-long federal government shutdown is over and default on America's debt has been averted, although no one is relieved that this latest crisis ever occurred. Now, we are deeply concerned that the American people are in danger of another shutdown or threat of default early next year.

The most powerful source of uncertainty to American families and businesses is the threat of a government shutdown and default on our debts. That is why we are writing to you to urge you and your leadership to publicly declare that you will not again use the threat of a government shutdown or default as leverage in the important discussions regarding long-term deficit reduction and economic growth.

The American people depend on their elected representatives to be problem solvers and get our work done. When we fail to do our job, however, it is not the American people who should pay the price for our inability to reach critical agreements.

The cost to our nation is too high. The absence of paychecks to hundreds of thousands of federal employees during the course of the shutdown caused real economic hardship to those employees and their families and to private businesses whose livelihoods were affected by the shutdown.

Ratings agencies and economists from across the political spectrum agree that the shutdown and threat of default took a real toll on our economy and that the possibility of repeating these crises is causing ongoing uncertainty and economic weakness.

Standard & Poor's estimated that the recent shutdown cost our economy $24 billion and reduced 4th quarter GDP growth by 0.6 percent. The shutdown triggered higher short-term interest rates, adding $100 million to the federal budget deficit in the last week of the shutdown alone. And Standard & Poor's said that the threat of another shutdown and possible default weighs heavily on the economy. "The short turnaround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed," the agency said in its October 16 report.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, "said he has downgraded his projected growth for the gross domestic product for the last quarter of this year from 2.6 percent to 2.1 percent because of the shutdown and simply the threat that Congress would not raise the debt ceiling on time," according the Times-Tribune of Scranton, PA.

Joel Naroff, founder of Naroff Economic Advisors, said the "shutdown trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20% - an outcome any business would "consider a disaster','' according to USA Today.

Gennadiy Goldberg, economist at TD Securities, said, "'The recovery is on hold for another four months,' citing the unresolved differences in Washington over the government budget," according to Thompson/Reuters.

And Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said, "This will accelerate the rate at which the Chinese renminbi becomes accepted -- at least throughout Asia -- as an alternative to the dollar, or Chinese government bonds become accepted as an alternative [to U.S. Treasurys]," according to National Public Radio.

This sobering economic hardship should have never been visited upon the American people. The shutdown and threat of default were unnecessary and costly.

Congress has voted itself 90 days to reach a long-term budget agreement. We respectfully request that Congress work hard to reach an agreement sooner than that and that you and your colleagues in leadership remove the threat of another shutdown or default on America's debt as a weapon in these talks.

We are working in good faith to meet our responsibilities and achieve the goals set out in last week's agreement to open the government and avoid default. All House Democrats and some Republicans voted for that agreement. By acting now to take the threat of another shutdown or default off the table you can provide certainty and economic relief that American families and privates businesses desperately need.

Below is a list of members of Congress who signed the Esty/Kuster letter.

Rep. Elizabeth H. Esty

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster

Rep. Xavier Becerra

Rep. Pete P. Gallego

Rep. Denny Heck

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly

Rep. Daniel B. Maffei

Rep. Suzanna Bonamici

Rep. Dina Titus

Rep. Alan Grayson

Rep. James P. McGovern

Rep. John A. Yarmuth

Rep. Janice Hahn

Rep. Karen Bass

Rep. Marc A. Veasey

Rep. Joyce Beatty

Rep. Joe Crowley

Rep. Bradley S. Schneider

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick

Rep. John Lewis

Rep. James A. Himes

Rep. Jackie Speier

Rep. David N. Cicilline

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Rep. Kathy Castor

Rep. Joaquin Castro

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo

Rep. Michael F. Doyle

Rep. David Scott

Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr.

Rep. Mark Pocan

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond

Rep. Mike Thompson

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. James E. Clyburn

Rep. Henry Cuellar

Rep. Paul Tonko

Rep. John P. Sarbanes

Rep. Ed Pastor

Rep. Ben Ray Luján

Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter

Rep. Richard M. Nolan

Rep. Gene Green

Rep. André D. Carson

Rep. Daniel Lipinski

Rep. Brian Higgins

Rep. Michael H. Michaud

Rep. William L. Enyart

Rep. Betty McCollum

Rep. John Garamendi

Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo

Rep. Doris O. Matsui

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. John Conyers, Jr.

Rep. Alcee Hastings

Rep. Adam B. Schiff

Rep. Joe Courtney

Rep. Scott H. Peters

Rep. Charles B. Rangel

Rep. Steve Cohen

Rep. Yvette D. Clark

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Rep. Marcia Fudge

Rep. Diana DeGette

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez

Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

Rep. Linda T. Sánchez

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio

Rep. Rick Larsen

Rep. Corrine Brown

Rep. Marcy Kaptur

Rep. David E. Price

Rep. Danny K. Davis

Rep. Elliot L. Engel

Rep. Henry A. Waxman

Rep. George Miller

Rep. Maxine Waters

Rep. José E. Serrano

Rep. Lois Capps

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

Del. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan

Rep. Eric Swalwell

Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal

Rep. Cheri Bustos

Rep. Julia Brownley

Rep. Theodore E. Deutch

Rep. Ron Barber

Rep. Timothy J. Walz

Rep. Jim McDermott

Rep. Lois Frankel

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Rep. Loretta Sanchez

Rep. Sam Farr

Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Rep. Rush Holt

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III

Rep. Bill Foster

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz

Rep. Tony Cárdenas

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter

Rep. David Loebsack

Rep. Judy Chu

Rep. Susan A. Davis

Rep. Patrick Murphy

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

Rep. Grace F. Napolitano

Rep. Niki Tsongas

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

Rep. Jim Cooper

Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod

Rep. John K. Delaney

Rep. Jared Huffman

Rep. Juan Vargas

Rep. Chris Van Hollen

Rep. Michael M. Honda

Rep. Collin C. Peterson

Rep. Jim Costa

Rep. Sander M. Levin

Rep. Grace Meng

Rep. Chellie Pingree

Rep. Raul Ruiz

Rep. Steven A. Horsford

Rep. Zoe Lofgren

Rep. John C. Carney, Jr.

Rep. Ami Bera

Rep. Ed Perlmutter

Rep. Matt Cartwright

Rep. Tim Ryan

Rep. Jared Polis

Rep. Derek Kilmer

Rep. John B. Larson

Rep. Joe Garcia

Rep. Ron Kind

Rep. Mark Takano

Rep. Keith Ellison

Rep. James P. Moran

Rep. Peter J. Visclosky

Rep. Rubén E. Hinojosa

Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Chaka Fattah

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

Rep. Peter Welch

Rep. G.K. Butterfield

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

Rep. John D. Dingell

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

Rep. Albio Sires

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy

Rep. Brad Sherman

Rep. Gwen Moore

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

Rep. Bruce L. Braley

Del. Donna M. Christensen

Rep. Robin Kelly

Rep. Robert A. Brady

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth

Rep. James R. Langevin

Rep. Suzan DelBene

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Rep. Daniel T. Kildee

Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries

Rep. Steve Israel

Rep. Al Green

Rep. John F. Tierney


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