Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators refrained from offering any recriminations of their Republican colleagues Wednesday when they spoke to reporters hours before the Senate and House voted on a deal to re-open government and raise the debt ceiling.
The deal keeps the government open until Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
The deal also included a nod to Republicans who allowed the government to shut down when they refused to pass a continuing resolution to keep it open without major changes to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. That small token, which Democrats said won’t impact the law greatly, creates a reporting mechanism to ensure individuals applying for subsidies on the exchanges have their income verified by the I.R.S.
In the meantime, Connecticut’s Senators tried to set aside their feelings about the shutdown in an effort to move forward.
“For now, we have to avoid recriminations as we seek common ground,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. “The House Republican leadership clearly lost, but there is no winner here.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy echoed Blumenthal’s comments. “No one should be doing an end zone dance,” he said.
“It should be a basic expectation of government that the doors stay open and the bills are paid,” Murphy said. “What is remarkable is that after two weeks of shutdown, Tea Party Republicans got nothing out of this deal.”
He said it’s estimated that $3 billion in economic activity was lost because of the two-week shutdown.
“Simply and bluntly, this point should have never been reached,” Blumenthal said. “The past week of dysfunction has damaged America and must not happen again.”
The state of Connecticut stepped in last week and provided about $800,000 to Head Start centers in Bridgeport that relied on an Oct. 1 payment from the federal government. Murphy and Blumenthal said the deal doesn’t include any specific information about whether the federal government will reimburse the state.
“There’s [nothing] explicit in the bill that would provide reimbursement to any state,” Blumenthal said.
According to Politico, a budget conference committee will be appointed and the two chambers will seek to work out their differences before Dec. 13.
“Ultimately we have to stop this and we have to pass a long-term budget and we have to pass a long-term raise in the debt ceiling,” Murphy said.
There hasn’t been a federal budget since 2008.
Rep. Jim Himes, who has provided cable news commentary because of his background with Goldman Sachs, said he hopes they can find a way forward.
“Our job is to govern, which means we must compromise,” Himes said in a statement. “I am hopeful that this legislation, which we expect to pass with the support of House Leadership and most rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers, begins to put an end to governing by crisis and hostage-taking by a small but energized minority.”