San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

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U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio



“The House has once again voted to fund the government while also addressing the American people’s concerns about Obamacare. Recent polls show that the more the American people find out about Obamacare, the less they like it. A Pew Research Center/USA Today poll found that 55% of Americans disapprove of Obamacare, compared to only 42% who approve of the law.

“Obamacare is unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable. Even the President knows this. That’s why he gave businesses a one-year extension on the employer mandate. Unfortunately, his decision means that the full burden of Obamacare falls squarely on the shoulders of hardworking Americans and their families. But what’s good for businesses should be good for the American people too.

“The House has acted to protect the American people from the onslaught of Obamacare’s new regulations and taxes. We have also voted to ensure that members of Congress, their staff and the President’s staff do not receive special treatment when it comes to health care subsidies. And we have done this while making sure that the federal government is funded and a government shutdown is avoided.

“The decision now lies with the Senate. Will they vote to protect the American people or will they choose to protect their own special treatment and subsidies in Obamacare?”

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U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin



“Enough of these Republican shenanigans that have already cost America so dearly. The only path forward is to end the veto power of the Republican ‘Shutdown Caucus” by permitting a bipartisan House majority to join the Senate in approving continued operation of our government. Allowing majority rule was the only we escaped the fiscal cliff crisis, got Hurricane Sandy victims relief, and belatedly approved the Violence Against Women Act.”

UPDATED 7:21 p.m. OCT. 1:

Doggett delivered remarks on the government shutdown with a brief speech on the floor of the U.S. House today (video follows text):

“37 of 40 fine National Park Service workers at the Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio, have been sent home because of this shutdown nonsense.  I want them back at work.  But what about 90% of the Small Business Administration field employees across town who have also been sent home?

Suzanna Cabellero, just one of the agents processing small business loans, called to tell me that this SBA shutdown is jeopardizing four of her small businesses that could create 214 Texas jobs.  In two cases, the delay may cost a small businessperson to lose a purchase contract and earnest money.  This latest Republican shutdown nonsense discriminates against small businesses and to some of those small businesses that discrimination may be fatal.

And what if a worker is killed this afternoon in a construction accident?  Who from the largely shuttered doors of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration will be there to ensure that another worker doesn’t experience the same fate?

Of course, the “Shutdown Caucus” is happy, gleeful, delighted to shut down 94% of the Environmental Protection Agency; they’re only troubled that they couldn’t get the other 6%, because they don’t really believe in protecting, with effective safeguards, the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Instead of shutting down the whole government, this resolution says, let’s just have a little dismemberment.  And through all of this reckless Republican maneuvering, it is not only the United States that cannot pay its bills, but it is so many families who out there wondering how they are going to make the next truck payment or the next rent or mortgage payment.  Shut down the Republican “Shutdown Caucus” before it strangles America the way it has strangled the Republican party.”

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U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Weatherford



“This bill is about fairness. Members of Congress and the White House should have never been exempted from Obamacare from the beginning – or any law for that matter – and this bill rightfully subjects elected officials and their staff to the same treatment as everyday Americans. After all, it’s WE the people, not THEM the people.

“The bill also puts Main Street on the same playing field as Wall Street by delaying the individual mandate just as the Obama Administration has exempted big businesses and corporations from the disastrous law.

“These kinds of sweetheart deals and selective exemptions should be a thing of the past. It’s no wonder the public doesn’t trust the government. This bill will go a long way to restore the public’s faith while keeping the government open. It’s now time for the Senate to act quickly before their inaction causes a government shutdown.”

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Federal government shutdown to keep Texas workers home


WASHINGTON — Thousands of “nonessential” Texas federal employees will be off the job until Congress passes legislation to turn the government’s lights back on.

Texas has the nation’s third-highest concentration of federal employees, according to the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project, and many of those 140,000 workers will go without a paycheck.

Late into Monday night, congressional leaders wrangled over whether to include defunding of the Affordable Care Act, due to begin enrollment Tuesday, in a federal government funding resolution but failed to compromise before time ran out. The most recent government shutdown, in late 1995 and early 1996, lasted several weeks.

In a press release Monday, Gov. Rick Perry chastised the Obama administration for what he called a “my-way-or-the-highway mentality” that he said “jeopardizes essential functions of not only the federal government but also state services.”

NASA, headquartered in Houston, is slated to close, with 97 percent of its employees at home. The Department of Homeland Security will temporarily halt its E-Verify program, preventing business owners from checking the immigration status of prospective employees. Border Patrol agents will remain on the job, but their paychecks will most likely be delayed. The Department of Energy will run on a third of its staff, with employees working on nuclear materials and power grids still on the clock.

Military personnel would have been paid by IOUs following a shutdown, but a last-minute bill signed by the president two hours before the deadline Monday night extended military salaries into fiscal year 2014.

While federal employees will feel the initial pinch, state agencies reliant on federal funding are scrambling to cover budget holes to carry them through the shutdown. The stalemate will be “catastrophic” if it lasts longer than a few weeks, said Tory Gunsolley, president of the Houston Housing Authority, which distributes housing vouchers to low-income families. October payments for the Housing Choice Voucher Program are already promised by Washington, but November’s are not.

“There simply isn’t enough money to be able to make good on our obligations without the federal government because there is not another source of money,” Gunsolley said. The Houston Housing Authority provides rental assistance for 60,000 people, costing about $10 million per month.

With the Department of Housing and Urban Development on furlough, projects awaiting federal approval could run out of time. “HUD’s clock may have stopped, but that doesn’t mean there is more time for us,” Gunsolley said. “If they are not able to catch up in time, it could put our deals in jeopardy.”

The Women, Infants and Children Program, which supports low-income mothers and children, will continue uninterrupted for now, said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. The program disburses $750 million per year to nearly 950,000 women and children in the state. However, in other states, WIC will run out of funding in the next few days.

“We’ll use WIC rebate dollars to fund services for the time being,” Williams said. “But of course, if it stretches out for a while, we could have cash flow issues in the coming weeks.”

Nationally, visas and passports will go unprocessed, as will gun permits. The Environmental Protection Agency will effectively be closed, with 94 percent of its employees, including regulators, furloughed. National parks and zoos are to be closed.

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The Medill News Service is a content partner of The Texas Tribune and is providing reports from Washington, D.C. This story is reprinted in the San Marcos Mercury through a news partnership with The Texas Tribune.

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5 thoughts on “Video: Smith, Doggett on government shutdown (updated)

  1. It’s time to ignore party lines and work for the best for the country. Shame on you, Congress! Compromise! And Obamacare passed lawfully; don’t try to monkeywrench it now. I agree with Charlie, but I’d say let’s get those Republicans out of office, so the country can move forward. And Democrats, please practice compromise.

  2. The Affordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress and was signed by the President, the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional and then the President was re-elected and Democrats campaigning on having passed the Affordable Care Act picked up seats in both houses. Republicans have no right to hold the country hostage in an effort to undo a constitutionally enacted law. Lamar Smith is in fact violating his oath of office which says “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States.”

  3. I’m truly embarrassed that Rep. Roger Williams lies so freely to the press by stating that big biz, corporations, white house and congress are exempt from the ACA law. He knows they are not exempt but uses the public’s ignorance of how the law affects large employers and their employees (including the government being a large employer of employees.) I am especially aware of how Rep. Roger Williams’s quote using “US” and “THEM” in capital letters is literally fanning the flames of anger at government practically urging his base to cheer for its complete destruction. Rep. Rogers should be educating his huge base of uninsured Texas citizens on how the ACA will help them. Oh wait, I forgot that Texas legislature is refusing to participate in the ACA and is thus denying the working poor of Texas basic private health insurance coverage. NOW I see why Rep Roger Williams is lying so much.

  4. Rep. Lamar Smith wants to blame the Senate and Whitehouse. Rep. Lamar Smith thinks it very reasonable to start a tradition that any House majority can tie in numerous unending demands for personal agendas to doing their job – conferencing to compile a budget and funding the government. Rep. Lamar Smith supports a very dangerous precedent that when applied to everyday life by everyday people would look more like anarchy and chaos than a civilized nation. My wish is that Rep. Lamar Smith stop being a tool for anarchy and chaos, and start being a tool for democracy.

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