Democratic Senator Rips Colleagues For Looming Government Shutdown

By Gregory

Apr 6, 2011 2:41pm

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: With only days remaining before the government would come to a screeching halt due to the budget stalemate in Congress, one senator has a simple message for his colleagues: stop trying to score political points & find a way to work out a deal.

Here’s what Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, had to say on the Senate floor. 

“There is no way that any superintendent of schools in Colorado or any school board in Colorado or any city council or any mayor from the biggest city to the smallest town would show up to work and say, ‘We might close the government two weeks from now. It’s an option for us that we will not pick up your trash two weeks from now or plow the streets – we still get snow in Colorado at this time of year – or plow the streets from now. We’re going to close down.’ It wouldn’t occur to anybody working in a local government in our state to say that they were going to do that. You know why? Because people would become unglued, unhinged! They’d say, ‘We hired you to do a job. Work it out! We’re doing our jobs or we’re looking for jobs. We don’t have time to solve these problems. You were hired to do this job. Work it out! Come to an agreement! Don’t come home and tell us you’re shutting the government down, that you’re not going to pick up the trash, that you’re not going to plow the snow, that you’re not going to educate our kids.’” 

“People rely on us to do the work that we’re supposed to do. They have plans. And the idea that at a time when we are fighting wars all across this globe, at a time when there are governments and countries that are trying to seek an economic advantage over the United States of America in a global economy that has shrunk the way ours has shrunk, that we would say to ourselves – ‘We’re going to pause, we can’t even keep the government open in this democracy’ – I think would reflect terribly not on the American people and not on our democracy, but on this institution of government. There is a reason why we are in the basement as an institution in terms of polling. Why should people have confidence in an institution that can’t actually even keep running in the short-term?” 

“I think it’s important – based on the conversation I’ve heard tonight here on both sides of the aisle – for the American people to understand that this debate about this government shutdown is not a debate about our deficit and our debt. Not really. It’s been about scoring political points and what I want to say is this, just as one member of this body: I hope and I would encourage the leadership of both sides of the aisle here, the leadership in the House, our president, to find a way to work it out and to make sure that we keep this government open. I think closing it sends entirely the wrong message and I know that there are people on both sides of the aisle here that believe that and I hope people do absolutely everything they can do between now and the end of this week to make sure that we send the message that we are not as dysfunctional as we appear to be.”

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