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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I have come to the floor today to deliver a message from the people of Wisconsin. They are fed up with the political games that are being played here in Washington. They have had enough. On Tuesday, Congress failed the American people and our government shut down because the tea party faction in the House put their own personal agendas and partisan politics ahead of progress for the American people.

The Republican leadership in the House could end this shutdown by simply letting the House vote on the Senate-passed bill to fund the government. Instead, the Speaker of the House has, for over a week, prevented the House from voting on a clean funding bill that would open the entire Federal Government.

In my home State of Wisconsin, we believe in hard work. We believe that hard work should be respected and rewarded.

Every day people get up and go to work to build a better life for themselves and their families. They trust in the promise that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get ahead.

They are right to expect that both parties in Washington work together to help keep that promise. They are right to expect that both parties in Washington work together to respect the hard work of Americans who have helped lift this country up from the worst recession since the Great Depression. They are right to expect that both parties in Washington work together to reward the hard work of families and small business owners who, through sheer grit and determination, have been moving our economy and our country forward.

In my home State of Wisconsin, our State motto is one word: Forward. The people of Wisconsin live up to that motto every single day, and I would say all Americans do as well.

As I stand here today, in the midst of the fifth day of a government shutdown, I can't say that Congress has. Instead of working together to move our economy and our country forward, the Republican leadership in the House has offered day after day of political games and brinkmanship.

Here is the price: In Wisconsin, more than 800 workers in the National Guard are off the job--hard-working people who have committed themselves to public service, to something bigger than themselves. They get up every day and work for our common good. They deserve to have a Congress that does the same.

These are particularly tough times for my State. Even as the national economy is rebuilding and rebounding, my State's economy has lagged behind the rest of the Nation. Our economy cannot afford to have the tea party extremists in the House making it harder for small business owners to create jobs.

Their shutdown has blocked small business loans and investments in Wisconsin and that threatens our ``made in Wisconsin'' economy and tradition, our work ethic, and our entrepreneurial spirit.

Due to this tea party shutdown, Wisconsin's small businesses are missing out on about $3.5 million in SBA-supported loans every day. That means Wisconsin's small businesses have been denied access to critical loans since this shutdown began.

We know the majority of new jobs in the United States are created by startups, and small businesses are engines of our economy, creating two out of every three new jobs. Our economy needs to have a Congress that is supporting and strengthening small business efforts, not a Congress that steers from one manufactured crisis to another.

Groundbreaking research, supported by the National Institutes of Health, adds more than $800 million a year to Wisconsin's economy. We should all be able to agree, both parties in the House and the Senate, that in order for America to outinnovate the rest of the world we must protect and strengthen our investments in research, science, and innovation.

The failure of the House leadership to step up and actually lead has put in place a shutdown that is threatening Wisconsin's leadership on bioenergy research and on biomedical research. This failure in leadership in the House means new patients are being turned away from the benefits of cancer research being done at the University of Wisconsin.

On a broader scale, our NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that as long as the government is shut down, the National Institutes of Health says it will turn away roughly 200 patients each week from its clinical research center, including children with cancer. He said:

We've had to tell people ``I'm sorry, you can't come here.''

This is the price extracted by a small tea party group in the House who can't
see past their own political agenda to defund, delay, or repeal the Affordable Care Act. It is reckless and it is irresponsible. But it doesn't have to be that way. It is time. It is time the House leadership steps up and actually leads.

More than 1 week ago the Senate passed a clean bill that funds the government, ends the shutdown, and that opens the Federal Government for business again. They have obstructed that measure from going to the House floor for a simple up-or-down vote. The House Republicans need to end these politics. It is time for the House to have an up-or-down vote to end this shutdown.

House Republicans need to break with their divisive threats. They need to start governing and pass a responsible budget that invests in the middle class and strengthens our economy. It is time. It is time for the House to have an up-or-down vote to open our government for business.

House Republicans need to stop standing in the way of progress. They need to start working to build a better and stronger future for our country. It is time. It is time for the House to have an up-or-down vote to end this gridlock and to move our country forward.

I yield the floor.


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