By Ben Ray Luján
Member of Congress
I want to thank Mr. Redman for his letter concerning the need to take action to end the government shutdown. I could not agree more that Congress needs to act on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government. It is long past time that the House of Representatives votes on such a measure. Even before House Republicans caved to the Tea Party demands to shut down the government, I advocated for a clean vote that would have kept the government open and allowed Congress to do its work without furloughing thousands of New Mexican workers or delaying vital services our communities rely on.
Since the beginning of the government shutdown, I have repeatedly called for a clean vote that would solve this problem and end the shutdown. Republican Speaker John Boehner claims the votes aren’t there to pass such as bill, but the Speaker’s numbers don’t add up. Last week, I joined with 199 of my Democratic colleagues in a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to allow us a vote. When you add the number of House Democrats who are willing to compromise on a clean bill that funds the government – at a lower level than many of us would like – and the number of House Republicans who are tired of the Tea Party shutdown, the votes are there to pass the bill and reopen the government.
Last week, a number of House Democrats introduced a “discharge petition” calling for a vote on a clean funding bill. A discharge petition requires the House to take a vote if a majority of members of the House sign the petition. Under House rules, this coming Saturday is the earliest that members can sign on. I will add my name, and I encourage moderate House Republicans who have said they support a clean vote to stand up and join me. It is long past time that Congress ends the government shutdown that is taking a toll on New Mexico families.