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Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Congressional Delegation Warns Of Impact Of Government Shutdown

Evan Vucci /AP
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is seen on a television screen in the Senate Press Gallery during the tenth hour of his speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 in Washington.

If Congress fails to pass a budget by next Monday night, many parts of the federal government will be shut down.

They have no interest in fixing problems or making it better, only in blowing it up. Senator Patrick Leahy speaking about House GOP effort to defund Obamacare

House Republicans have passed a budget that includes the de-funding of the Affordable Care Act but it’s an approach that has very little chance of passing the Senate. So the question is whether this stalemate will lead to a government shutdown.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Patrick Leahy denounced the House Republican approach.

“They have no interest in fixing problems or making it better only in blowing it up. They don’t come up with one single idea that might make it better,” said Leahy. “They don’t come up with anything that they’ve proposed here’s our idea that could be better. No! Let’s get rid of it all.” 

Senator Bernie Sanders also went to the Senate floor to sharply criticize House Republicans.

“And now quite incredibly what the Republicans are saying is ‘yeah we failed 42 times, we lost the Presidential election, but now we are prepared to shut down the entire United States government unless we end this legislation,” said Sanders. “It’s not going to happen.”

And Congressman Peter Welch argued that a government shut down could have dire consequences for the economy and he placed the blame squarely on House Republican leaders.

“Just a willful determination to use any tactic no matter how destructive to the economy and the country to get their way on a pipe dream,” said Welch. “You know Obamacare is going to be implemented.”

Deborah Bucknam is the acting chair of the Vermont Republican Party. She argues that House Republicans are reflecting the views of the American people.

“The majority of the American people are not in favor of Obamacare so the Republicans are on the American peoples’ side,” said Bucknam. “And the Democrats are saying we’re not going to even talk to you. So I think that’s a problem.”

And Bucknam says it’s the Democrats who should be blamed if a government shut down occurs.

“I think it’s the Democrats who are by saying we will not compromise are the ones that are pushing this toward a government shutdown,” said Bucknam. “They’re the ones who are saying it’s all or nothing. So it certainly is their responsibility.”

Some Congressional leaders are floating the idea of passing a 6 week budget extension to give both sides more time to work out a possible compromise.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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