Local members of Congress talk budget stalemate, government shutdown

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by Eric Kane, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 29, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 29 at 11:34 PM

WASHINGTON -- With both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in recess Sunday, the first federal government shutdown in 17 years seems inevitable.

Congress has not agreed on a budget plan that would keep the government running beyond the end of the day September 30.

"You can't even negotiate with people who start off by saying, 'If I don't get my way, I'm going to explode the economy,'" Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) told 13News Now.

Scott was, in part, referring to 2 spending bills approved by the Republican-controlled House before it recessed this weekend. Those bills would keep the government running but would delay President Obama's signature Affordable Health Care Act for a year.

"Insisting that you're going to close down the government unless you get your way on legislation is just unprecedented," Scott said.

Republican Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) said in a statement that Democrats will be responsible for any government shutdown.

Wittman wrote:

Unfortunately, this legislation does not prevent furloughs for thousands of hardworking federal employees which is disruptive and undeserved for these folks dedicated to service to the nation. It is my hope the Senate can pass legislation to ensure the government does not shut down.

Republican Congressman Walter Jones (NC-03) shared on his Web site:

Eastern North Carolinians are opposed to Obamacare and opposed to a government shutdown. That is why I voted to support a continuing resolution that will keep the government open and delay the President's disastrous health care law.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said the bills have zero chance of passing in the Senate.

"We'll get back together. We'll reject their amendments, and we'll give them another chance: Let's continue to operate the government of the greatest nation on Earth," Kaine told 13News Now, "and if they decide they want to shut it down, it would be incredibly unfortunate."

If there is a government shutdown, Department of Defense workers could be told to go home. There is a chance that the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program could stop operating.

Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue to come, but there might be a delay in processing new applications.

Air traffic controllers and airport security screeners still would report to work, which means air travel should be unaffected.

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