Tennessee Lawmakers Respond To Senate Vote On Govt. Shutdown

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-20 21:22:41-05

A Senate vote on a short-term spending bill failed, forcing the government to shut down.

Friday night's vote would have moved towards a vote on a short-term spending bill, but the Senate could not reach a deal.

Minutes after the vote, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper issued the following statement:

“The federal government will shut down tonight at midnight if the Senate cannot find the 60 votes necessary to keep government operating. Never before in American history has this happened when one political party controls both the White House and Congress.
“Late at night, on a weekend, few people will notice that our government has shut down. But our nation’s enemies will notice, as will our increasingly worried allies. When government is shut down for more than a few days, every American will start noticing the damage.

“It is popular to criticize government, and to pretend that we don’t need it. But we are the greatest nation on earth because of our people and, also, partly because of our government, so it is a tragic mistake to harm either.
“Senate Republicans and Democrats should compromise with each other fast before any more damage is done to the country. Then the House should pass what the Senate passes. There are plenty of existing compromises that Senate Republican leadership could include like Alexander/Murray on health care or Graham/Durbin on immigration. Then the House should go along and keep the government operating.”
Most of Rep. Cooper’s staff will be furloughed for the duration of a shutdown, but his Nashville and Washington offices will remain open Monday to Friday. Middle Tennesseans can reach the Nashville office at 615-736-5295 and the Washington office at 202-225-4311 during normal business hours.

U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn released a statement after the shut down took place in a series of tweets.

Saturday, Blackburn released an additional statement saying she's donating her salary due to the shutdown:

"Because of this Democrat shutdown, more than 2 million servicemen and women will go unpaid, 100,000 National Guardsmen have been sent home from training and critical VA benefits are being withheld from our veterans.

This is unacceptable -- Members of Congress should not be paid if our troops are not and our veterans are not receiving their benefits. 

So, I'm donating my shutdown salary to charities that will benefit the brave men and women who have served our nation. Every day of the shutdown, I will give to them in gratitude of all that they gave for us."

On Saturday, Congressman Diane Black also released a statement:

“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.”

Former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, also spoke out on Saturday saying:

“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.”

Saturday evening, Congressman Steve Cohen said he's working with his colleagues to re-open the government:

“We need to open the government as soon as possible with an agreement that fully funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program and meets other important priorities, including extending the Federal Qualified Health Centers and community health centers. Congress should also stop trying to undermine Obamacare.
Although I’m disappointed we didn’t reach an agreement today, the House is in session on Sunday and I will continue working to resolve these issues and get the government operating again.”