October 16, 2013

Springfield Republican: Sen. Elizabeth Warren pleased over bipartisan funding legislation, but 'not celebrating'

By: Robert Rizzuto
October 16, 2013

Following the anticlimactic conclusion to the 16-day saga that left tens of thousands of government employees out of work, at least one United States senator isn't breaking out the party hats just yet.

After Congress passed a bill late Wednesday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent an email to supporters saying that although she was pleased that the bill addressing two disasters had passed, she feels the damage to the economy has already been done.

"According to the S&P index, the government shutdown had delivered a powerful blow to the U.S. economy. By their estimates, $24 billion has been flushed down the drain for a completely unnecessary political stunt," Warren wrote in the email. "$24 billion dollars. How many children could have been back in Head Start classes? How many seniors could have had a hot lunch through Meals on Wheels? How many scientists could have gotten their research funded? How many bridges could have been repaired and trains upgraded?"

Warren, along with Democrats in the Senate, has continually blamed the shutdown on House Republicans who put forth legislation to continue funding the government only if implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as its become known, was delayed for a year. When that condition became the crux of all spending proposals to clear the GOP-led House, the Democrat-led Senate refused to consider such actions, shutting down nonessential facets of the federal government on Oct. 1, causing thousands of employees to be furloughed across the country.

At the same time, many Republicans have blamed the shutdown on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats for being unwilling to consider negotiating on the health care overhaul. But in the end, Republicans conceded defeat as the bipartisan legislation stopping the shutdown and raising the nation's debt limit passed without any stipulation addressing the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

"The House has fought with everything it has to convince President Barack Obama to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country's debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. That fight will continue," said Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement. "Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president's health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law's massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people."

In her dispatch, Warren reiterated her disdain for the so-called sequester, which took effect mandating layoffs and furloughs when Congress failed to pass a budget in December. As she has said since being elected in November, Warren places the blame for a failure to compromise in that regard squarely on the GOP.

"The Republicans keep saying, 'Leave the sequester in place and cut all those budgets.' They keep trying to cut funding for the things that would help us build a future. But they are ready to flush away $24 billion on a political stunt," Warren wrote. "So I'm relieved, but I'm also pretty angry. We have serious problems that need to be fixed, and we have hard choices to make about taxes and spending. I hope we never see our country flush money away like this again. Not ever."

Read the full story here.