Legislation to reopen the federal government and lift the debt ceiling passed both chambers of Congress late Wednesday evening and was signed into law by the president early Thursday morning.
The deal negotiated by Senate leaders and announced Wednesday ends a 16-day government shutdown that began with efforts by conservative Republicans to defund the president’s health care law.
Both of Tennessee’s senators voted in favor of the bill. The state’s congressional delegation split along partisan lines. Republican representatives from Tennessee voted against the bill that funds the federal government until Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. Democratic representatives voted for it.
Here’s a rundown of statements from Tennessee lawmakers released Wednesday.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican:
“I voted in September against shutting down the government, and today I voted to reopen it and to make sure that the United States pays its bills on time. We need to redouble our efforts to fix our country’s $16.7 trillion federal debt. We could start by passing the Corker-Alexander plan to reduce out-of-control entitlement spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.”
Sen. Bob Corker, Republican:
"It is beyond belief that Congress chose to pursue an effort that had no chance of success and wasted time that could have been spent putting in place spending reforms that will make our country stronger. But I do consider it a victory that we forced adherence to the Budget Control Act spending restraints, which for the first time since the 1950s, have caused us to reduce total government spending for two consecutive years.
"There’s much more work to do to get on a path to fiscal solvency, and I look forward to continuing that important work."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, 3rd district Republican:
"Tonight’s vote was yet another move to kick the can down the road and does nothing to address our unmanageable debt. While I strongly believe the government has an obligation to pay its bills, we also have an obligation to address the true fiscal crisis facing our great nation. Until we take a serious look at the mandatory spending that’s driving our debt we will continue to face these self-inflicted debt crises."
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, 4th district Republican:
"Today’s deal makes one thing clear: Washington has failed the American people. We know that Obamacare will destroy our nation’s health care system and our deficit spending will cause our economy to crash. Yet it seems party leaders on both sides of the aisle are more concerned about media-sponsored polls than simply doing what is right.
"We cannot continue to postpone making the decisions needed to get our nation back on the right track. The longer we wait, the greater the challenges we will face. There is no doubt that the status quo is going to bankrupt our nation. We can prevent that from happening, but Washington must have the courage to lead. Unfortunately, today’s bill does not reflect that courage."
Rep. Phil Roe, 1st district Republican:
"I am very disappointed the Senate was unable to reach an acceptable agreement. Our crippling national debt is one of the largest threats to American prosperity, and we missed an opportunity to further reduce the size of government and get out-of-control spending in check. I strongly believe that deficit reduction, either through entitlement reform or discretionary spending reductions, must be a part of any measure to raise the debt ceiling.
"I voted for the Budget Control Act in 2011. While that agreement was far from perfect, we have reduced total federal spending for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War. It’s working, but that’s not enough if we want to get this country back on track. We must continue to cut wasteful spending."
Rep. Jim Cooper, 5th district Democrat, in a joint statement with Reps. Charlie Dent and Ron Kind:
"On day one of the government shutdown, we joined together not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans deeply committed to resolving this impasse and avoiding a self-inflicted economic wound that would devastate families across the country. As it became clear that partisanship—and not problem solving—would dominate the discussion in Washington, we were joined by pragmatic, like-minded leaders on both sides of the aisle. […]
“We applaud our Senate colleagues for working together to come up with a solution. Now it is time for Congress to act to get the government open and avoid further roiling the markets. We look forward to continuing our bipartisan discussions with the goal of putting forth a long-term deficit reduction agreement to get our fiscal house in order and finding other areas of cooperation.”
Rep. Diane Black, 6th district Republican:
"I came to Washington to make tough choices and help solve our nation’s most pressing fiscal issues. Unfortunately, the bill that came before the House tonight would give the President a blank check to continue Washington’s reckless spending. I have fought hard to keep the government open and am glad that this bill preserves sequester level spending cuts; however, I cannot support a plan to increase our nation’s debt ceiling that ignores the drivers of our out of control debt and deficits."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, 7th district Republican:
"While I believe it important to make sure our nation does not default on our debt, I cannot support the Senate proposal in its current form. House Republicans have fought to provide the same relief to hard-working Americans that the Obama administration has generously provided to unions and big business to negate the impact of Obamacare. Every American should be treated equally under the law. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in our nation’s capitol.
"Not only have President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid refused to come to the table and negotiate with us on the issues that are the drivers of our nation’s debt, but the president won’t even agree to give up his own gold-plated health insurance plan and enter into the state exchanges like me, my staff and many of my constituents."
Steve Cohen, 9th district Democrat:
"This agreement is good news for our country because it will re-open the government and prevent an economic catastrophe.
"For 17 days, I’ve eagerly awaited the opportunity to vote on consensus legislation to fund our government, and I’m glad that opportunity has finally arrived. While I’m not pleased with everything in the agreement, it’s a relief that we will put our government back to work for the American people."
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