Sevier County's voices in D.C. speak on shutdown

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 11:52 PM

Sevier County's reprsentatives to Washington, D.C. weighed in Tuesday in the aftermath of the government shutdown, with most placing blame across the aisle.

“Late (Monday), I supported legislation for the third time to fund the government and avert a government shutdown," Republican Rep. Phil Roe said in a press release. "Unfortunately, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to shut the government down by choosing to give Members of Congress special treatment from Obamacare. I remain committed to ending this government shutdown and fighting to protect the American people from Obamacare."

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, also a Republican, had an almost identical take.

In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Alexander said President Obama and the Senate majority had failed “to make a reasonable effort to resolve the real differences” that have led to the federal government shutdown.

“This government shutdown is disappointing to me. It’s disappointing to those who are affected by it, and I’m sure it’s disappointing to the American people,” Alexander said. “What is especially disappointing to me is the unwillingness of the president and Senate Democrats to make a reasonable effort to resolve the real differences of opinion that exist here.”

Essentially, the U.S. House is controlled by Republicans, whose conservative members oppose the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare. They've used the budget, which should have been passed by Monday, as leverage to defund or delay the president's healthcare plan.

The Senate is controlled by Democrats who want see Obamacare fully implemented, and they've given the boot to every budget that the house has approved defunding the plan.

Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee's other Republican Senator, has generally been seen as against using the leverage of a funding measure to stop the Affordable Care Act.

His office's only statement after the shutdown has been more about the office itself.

“Due to a lapse in appropriations, by law, normal operations of the federal government have been suspended," Todd Womack, Corker's chief of staff, said. "As such, our office will be closed except for a very small skeleton staff necessary to assist the senator in performing his constitutional responsibilities.

"We know constituents have come to expect a high level of service and responsiveness from our office and regret they won’t experience that while the furlough is in effect. Senator Corker worked hard to prevent this situation and will continue working hard to help resolve it."

When the shutdown might end in anyone's guess. The last time the federal government went through a similar budget fight was December 1995. The government was closed then from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6, 1996.