In the vote late Wednesday that sent federal staffers back to work and ended a two-week-long government shutdown, Gwinnett’s leaders were not unanimous.
Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both Republicans, voted for the legislation to reopen the government and prevent a default on U.S. debt. But in the House, the only yay vote that came from the Gwinnett delegation was from Democrat U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson. Congressmen Rob Woodall and Paul Broun, both Republicans, voted no.
“The end of the Republican shutdown and default-threatening debacle shows that shutting down the government and threatening national default should never be used as a political weapon and must be rejected at every turn,” Johnson said after the House’s 285-144 vote. “If those who helped engineer the shutdown and threatened a default had achieved their policy goals, our political system would be forever weakened and our economy — and global markets — unnecessarily damaged. It’s time to move forward together pursuing policies that help grow the economy, increase opportunities and reduce inequality — otherwise we will be right back in this same reckless hostage-taking mode that is the enemy of reason and common-sense.”
The Republicans who represent Gwinnett said they were disappointed in the deal, but looking toward the future.
“These past few weeks should be a wake-up call. It’s time that Congress gets back to doing our job of budgeting, appropriating, and conducting oversight to address our unsustainable debt and deficits,” Isakson said, adding that he was glad that the bill included an increase in employment verification for the federal health care law, which Republicans had hoped to defund as part of the stand-off.
“While this is certainly not the deal Republicans hoped for, it is the best deal we could negotiate under the circumstances,” Chambliss said, adding that defunding Obamacare “was never a realistic goal.” “Shutting down the government only placed undue stress on Americans and on the economy, and lost Republican’s advantage to negotiate on the debt ceiling.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican whose district includes eastern Gwinnett, took to the House floor Wednesday to say that the GOP should work harder to stop the health care law.
“From the beginning, I have pledged to oppose any spending bill that does not fully defund or delay Obamacare,” said Broun, a physician. “Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming cries from the American people to defund and dismantle this law, the Senate refused to respect and honor the will of the American people, and Obamacare will continue to be funded through tonight’s spending bill. While this battle has come to an end, I will continue to fight in this war to defeat Obamacare once and for all and work to provide relief to the American people.”
Lawrenceville Republican Rob Woodall said he is disappointed that the spirit of negotiation did not go as planned.
“The House stood strong for as long as we had the votes to do so. We pressed hard for America’s priorities every day. Over and over again, the House reached out to the Senate and the President to try to find common ground, and each time we were rebuffed. The result being that American government will continue without change, federal spending will continue on without change, and federal borrowing will increase to more than $17 trillion. Our children deserve so much better,” Woodall said. “I know that since the Senate and the White House disagree with so many of our Georgia priorities that we will not achieve all of our goals, but we can move forward step by step, little by little, and make a difference for America on some of our shared goals. Now that the shutdown is over, the President has changed his message from ‘I will never negotiate’ to ‘I am happy to negotiate.’ America needs him to keep his word, and I intend to hold him to it.”