VOL. 133 | NO. 16 | Monday, January 22, 2018
Tennessee and Local Reps. In DC View Shutdown Across Partisan Divide
By Bill Dries
Among Tennessee’s two U.S. Senators and the two Congressmen who represent Shelby County in Washington, the partisan differences over the federal government shutdown that began Saturday are right at the top of their prepared statements on the shutdown released over the weekend.
Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown terms it the “Schumer Shutdown” – a reference to Democratic U.S. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis in a statement Saturday evening defined his efforts as a way to “quickly reopen the federal government after Republicans in control of the House and Senate failed to reach agreement on a range of issues.”
Cohen called for an agreement that “fully funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program and meets other important priorities, including extending the Federal Qualified Health Centers and community health centers.”
“Congress should also stop trying to undermine Obamacare,” he added.
Kustoff announced Sunday that he’s formally requested that his salary be withheld for the duration of the shutdown.
“If our troops don’t get paid during the Schumer Shutdown, I cannot in good conscience accept my pay,” Kustoff said in a written statement Sunday. “I have requested that my personal salary be withheld until we fund the government.”
Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a written statement Saturday that such a shutdown should “never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue.”
“It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare,” he added as he accused Congressional Democrats of doing that. “The Democrats are closing down the government because they want a result on an important issue, and they want it now.”
He urged Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate to work out an agreement.
“Let’s go to work on the two-year budget agreement, the children’s health insurance program, on lowering the cost of health insurance for people buying insurance on the individual market, on the DACA bill and on disaster relief,” Alexander said in a statement on the Senate floor. “Let’s get that done in a very, short period of time.”
Tennessee’s other Republican Senator, Bob Corker, had not yet issued any statement on the shutdown by late Saturday afternoon. But Corker said just before the midnight shutdown that the Senate negotiations between Democrats and Republicans amounted to a debate over a continuing resolution of three days or four days to avert the shutdown.