TN politicians comment on government shutdown

Comments from some members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation on the partial government shutdown.

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (excerpt from a press release): “Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare,” Alexander said in remarks to his colleagues on the Senate floor.  “It should be banned.” 

“More than 50 senators last night, including almost all Republicans and 5 Democrats, voted to keep the government open. The president has said he would sign the continuing resolution to keep the government open. The Democrats are closing down the government because they want a result on an important issue, and they want it now.”

He urged Democrats to support reopening the government. “The American people sent us here to make the government work for them, not to shut it down,” Alexander said. “That should be unthinkable.”

Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is running for the U.S. Senate, in an emailed statement:

“This shutdown is absurd, and it’s the direct result of the out-of-control partisanship that is killing our country. Congress needs to get back to basics, and there are few things more basic for our well-paid Congress to do than to pass a budget and keep our country’s doors open. You don’t shut down the government of the world’s leading democracy over disagreements about issues.

“When Tennesseans get behind the wheel today, common sense tells them to make sure they’re keeping the car between the lines on the road. I believe most Tennesseans want this failure by Congress fixed now, before it does any more damage. I call on Tennessee’s representatives in Washington to find a bipartisan way to get our car back on the road.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the U.S. Senate, via Twitter:

No coincidence that on the one-year anniversary of @realDonaldTrump’s  inauguration, Schumer and the Dems deliberately shutdown our government. Their move is nothing more than an attempt to score points with their “open borders” radical base & their Silicon Valley donor class.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, in an emailed statement to media Saturday:

 “Last night, the Democratic minority in the Senate shut down the government. That is not how Congress is supposed to work.

“The voters elected a Republican President and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress to get things done. While the House has listened to the American people and passed numerous pieces of major legislation, the Senate has failed to follow suit, largely due to arcane Senate rules. It’s time to let the majority govern. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to scrap the Senate rules that give Chuck Schumer the power to stop the congressional agenda in its tracks.”

Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff in a press release:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08) today sent a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. Congress requesting that his salary be withheld during the government shutdown.

“If our troops don’t get paid during the Schumer Shutdown, I cannot in good conscious accept my pay,” said Congressman Kustoff. “I have requested that my personal salary be withheld until we fund the government. I will continue working with my colleagues toward a timely solution and will fight for the needs of West Tennesseans.”

Congressman Kustoff’s office will remain open throughout the government shutdown to answer constituent questions and work to find a solution to fund the government.

Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe in a press release:

“I joined my House Republican colleagues in fulfilling one of Congress’ most basic duties, which is to keep the government open. It is unconscionable that Senate Democrats prefer shutting down the government instead of funding our troops and providing a long-term solution for children’s health care. This Schumer shutdown is bad for America and East Tennesseans deserve better. We must put party politics aside and pass a funding bill to reopen the government before we address any additional policy matters.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in a press release:

“I cannot fathom how Senate Democrats, knowing the severity of the issues in question, acted with such insensitivity using our children and our military as pawns, putting party over country. Due to their decision, our service members and country will suffer tremendously. Furthermore, about 9 million children risk being kicked off health insurance impacting over 70,000 children in Tennessee alone. I stand ready to work tirelessly to reopen our government and put our country back on the path forward.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, excerpt from press release issued prior to actual shutdown:

The Republicans cannot get their Houses in order and are failing at governance, despite the fact that Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House.

“Even if the government does shut down, my offices will be open to do whatever we can, under the circumstances, for the citizens of the Ninth District.  Nonetheless, many federal offices will be short staffed or closed entirely. I’m astonished to read that the Department of Health and Human Services has plans to furlough half its staff and suspend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza program just as the flu season reaches its peak. This is counterproductive and makes no sense.

“I also want to assure my constituents that unfinished work on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, the opioid crisis and more money for veterans programs, and children brought to this country by their parents are my priorities. The continued dysfunction is harmful to our country. I pledge to you that I’m doing everything to resolve this as painlessly as possible.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper posted on his website a note on shutdown impacts, HERE.

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