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N.M. House delegation comments on shutdown vote

New Mexico’s U.S. House delegation voted along party lines early this morning on Republican legislation that would keep the government running until Dec. 15 but delay Obamacare for a year and repeal a tax on medical devices that is designed to help pay for the health care law.

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., portrayed his vote in favor of the legislation as an effort to keep the government running. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has pronounced the bill dead on arrival in the Senate. It now appears that a federal government shutdown will occur at midnight Monday.

For more information on how a shutdown wouldl affect New Mexico, check out our story from Saturday’s front-page.

“Tonight, the House has voted for a second time to prevent a government shutdown, and to protect American families and businesses from a costly and unworkable law,” Pearce said in a statement issued after midnight on Saturday. “The Senate wasted a full week before taking action on the House’s first vote to prevent a shutdown, and only yesterday voted on a continuing resolution that continues to fund the President’s unworkable and costly healthcare bill.

“The Administration has already granted a delay for businesses—American families deserve the same treatment.  We can all agree that a shutdown would be bad for New Mexico, bad for the middle class, and bad for the country.  I urge the Senate to return to work and act quickly.  There is still time to join the House and save American families from more unnecessary burdens, confusion, and hardship.”

New Mexico’s Democratic House members, who opposed the Republican bill, saw the vote much differently.

“House Republicans, led by an extremist faction of their party, tonight voted to all but ensure a government shutdown,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a statement. “On Friday, the Senate acted in a reasonable, responsible way to keep the government open while we work on the significant fiscal issues facing our country. But instead of adopting that commonsense Senate-passed continuing resolution, House Republicans have decided that proving a futile ideological point is more important than the wellbeing of New Mexico families, veterans, seniors and public employees.

“The purpose of a continuing resolution should be simple: to keep the government open. House Republicans, however, are attempting to use this continuing resolution to extract their ideological demands, holding the American economy hostage in the process.

“It’s time for House Republicans to stop playing political games that would harm New Mexicans, and instead work with Democrats to create jobs and reduce the deficit in a balanced way.”

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan sounded a similar note.

“House Republicans seem determined to shut down the government if they do not get their way,” Lujan said. “Despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and the repeal agenda was rejected by voters last November, House Republicans are willing to make the American people pay the price for their ideological demands.

“Their obsession with undermining a law that ends discrimination for pre-existing conditions, expands care to millions of unemployed Americans, and strengthens Medicare is dangerously close to causing a government shutdown that would cause thousands of New Mexico’s federal employees to be furloughed – taking money out of their pockets – and halt services for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“It’s long past time for Tea Party Republicans in the House to stop creating one manufactured crisis after another that harms our economy and New Mexico’s families and get serious about doing what is in the best interest of the American people, not the most extreme elements of one party.”

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