Federal workers affected by the 16-day government shutdown began heading back to work today, thanks to an agreement Congress passed on Wednesday night. The agreement funds federal agencies through mid-January and raises the debt limit.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) blasted the shutdown, calling it “purposeless” in a statement released last night. Earlier this month, he introduced a bill — which the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed — to grant back pay to all 800,000 furloughed federal employees.
Moran’s full statement follows:
“This bill brings an end to one of the most embarrassing episodes in congressional history. House Republicans, spurred on by Tea Party-aligned members and outside groups who have exploited the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to subvert democracy, held the government hostage in an effort to destroy Obamacare. These Tea Party actions have caused a financially damaging, demoralizing government shutdown that shook consumer confidence, and resulted in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees and employment cutbacks at nearly 85 percent of all federal contracting companies.
“Three weeks later, $24 billion in lost economic growth and the anxiety of people wondering if and when they would receive a paycheck, we have a deal to reopen government, lift the debt ceiling…and Obamacare remains virtually untouched. Clearly, the new health law is going to need tweaking going forward. But efforts to destroy it, rather than improve it, led by charlatans like Senator Ted Cruz, willfully ignored the fact that 1) Congress signed it into law, 2) it was upheld by a conservative Supreme Court and, 3) it was a major issue in the most recent presidential election which resulted in a five million vote victory for President Obama.
“This two week period of panic and pain has been purposeless. We are back to square one having achieved nothing but to have exposed the radical destructiveness of the so called Ted Cruz Tea Party faction within the Republican Party.”