Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Senate Must Join Us at the Negotiating Table

October 9, 2013

Congressman Robert Hurt

There is no denying that the current situation in Washington, which has led to a lapse in government operations, is unfortunate and needs to be rectified as soon as possible. At the root of it all, our constitutional prerogatives are at stake. Article One, Section Eight, which states the enumerated powers of Congress, expressly authorizes the U.S. Congress power of the purse. It is our job to establish the spending priorities for the nation.

This impasse is about the obligation of the United States Congress to participate in making decisions about the ways in which the federal government’s funding is appropriated. We in the House have been working diligently to offer proposals to fund the federal government before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. We have been working in good faith, passing legislation that embraces reasonable and responsible spending reform. Unfortunately, the Senate has refused each and every one of our proposals and refused to come to the table and negotiate with us, leading to this lapse in government operations.

The Senate and the President have said from day one that they would refuse to negotiate on a simple spending plan for the U.S. government. When the House of Representatives proposed a spending plan that offered our view of what ought to be funded at this economically fragile time when we are borrowing thirty cents on every dollar and have amassed a $17 trillion debt, the Senate refused to negotiate. Since September 30th, the House has offered eight separate Continuing Resolution proposals supported by as many as thirty-six of our Democrat colleagues.

The House has been waiting 18 days for the Senate to come to the negotiating table. In an effort to provide funding for critical federal programs during this difficult time, the House has passed several pieces of legislation to restore these crucial operations. We have passed legislation to fund the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Guard, the National Park Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Special Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program. We are making every sincere effort to restore the operations of our government, yet the Senate refuses to come to the negotiating table.

It is my sincere hope that we will be able to find agreement for funding the operations of the government as soon as possible, and I will continue to work in good faith to achieve that end.

If you need any additional information, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.