55.8 F
Mobile
46.4 F
Huntsville
50.3 F
Birmingham
46.5 F
Montgomery

Alabama’s congressional delegation reacts to the shutdown

United States Capitol (Photo: Eric B. Walker)

Late Friday, lawmakers were unable to pass an eleventh-hour effort to thwart a government shutdown, and as the clock struck midnight, “nonessential” federal government activities ceased.

The Senate effort failed by a 50-49 roll call vote and required 60 votes to pass. The legislation would have funded the federal government through February 16.

Both of Alabama’s U.S. Senators, Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) and Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook), voted for the bill. Jones was one of five Democrats voting in the affirmative, a position he made known earlier in the evening.

In a statement released early Saturday, Shelby railed against his Democratic colleagues and accused them of “putting partisan politics” ahead of funding the government.

“It is unacceptable that Democrats would vote against a measure to keep our government open to do the work of the American people,” Shelby said. “I do not believe that shutting down the government is a solution to the problems we face as a country. A shutdown is destructive to the American taxpayer, no matter the circumstances. Republicans are working hard to keep the government running, and we also want to approve a long-term reauthorization of CHIP, which provides millions of children with needed health insurance coverage. While a long-term funding measure is preferred, this CR would allow Congress the ability to continue ongoing and proactive negotiations in an effort to approve a bipartisan, bicameral funding bill.”

“Democrats have chosen partisan politics over funding our government, funding our troops, and providing health insurance to low-income children and pregnant women,” he added. “The American people deserve better.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who had been very active on Twitter in lead-up and the aftermath of the shutdown deadline, described the Democratic refusal to back the legislation “petty and ridiculous.”

“The so-called ‘resistance’ and Senate Democrats have shut down the entire federal government and put health care for over 85,000 Alabama children at risk over an unrelated illegal immigration issue,” he said. “This is petty and ridiculous, and I call on Senate Democrats to stop with the political games, come back to the negotiating table, and join us in passing a funding bill.”

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) of Alabama’s 2nd congressional district expressed similar disapproval of Senate Democrats.

“While I continue to have serious concerns with short-term funding measures, I still voted in favor of the Continuing Resolution this week in the House because I believe it is critical that we keep the government open and running, especially as it relates to our military and reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),” Roby said. “I am deeply disappointed that Senate Democrats chose to let the government shut down over an unrelated immigration issue that does not have an immediate deadline.”

“My congressional offices will remain open to serve the needs of those I represent. I will continue working with my colleagues to work towards a solution to properly fund our government,” she added.

The congressman for Alabama’s 3rd congressional district, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), also condemned Democrats for “playing politics.”

“One of the fundamental purposes of our government is to provide for the common defense to protect our liberties,” Rogers said in a statement released early Saturday. “Unfortunately, Democrats chose illegal immigrants over our brave men and women who serve in uniform and forced our government to shut down. Their actions also hurt children across East Alabama and the country that rely on CHIP.  Playing politics with those who defend our freedom and the health care of the kids who need it the most is unconscionable to me.”

The lone member of Alabama’s delegation to vote against the continuing resolution was Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham). Sewell had made it her intentions known she would oppose the GOP’s efforts on Thursday. In a tweet early Saturday, she deemed the shutdown the “Trump shutdown” and called on Republicans to do their job.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.