If three of four Idaho congressmen had their way, the U.S. would be entering its 16th day of a government shutdown, and the nation would be maxing out on its borrowing authority right about now.
Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined 16 other U.S. senators in voting "no" on legislation to fund the government and avert a default, but an overwhelming majority of 81 other Senators voted "yes." The measure, which was promptly signed into law by President Barack Obama will fund the government through Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 and lift the debt ceiling until Friday, Feb. 7. The bill also triggers furloughed government workers to return to their jobs, beginning today.
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador joined 143 other house members to vote against the agreement, but a bipartisan majority of 285 house members voted yes.
Rep. Mike Simpson was the sole Idaho congressional member to vote yes for the furlough-ending package.
"The easiest, most politically expedient thing for me to do would have been to vote no and protect my political right flank," said Simpson. "Doing so, however, would have been the wrong thing to do for my constituents and our economy.
But Labrador insisted that his no vote was a sign of standing strong, insisting "we would not raise it without reducing the debt."
"Unfortunately, what Congress is passing today gets us out of the immediate political mess engulfing Washington, D.C. without making any substantial changes for the American people," he said.
Risch said he thought the compromise legislation "kicked the can down the road for three months."
"I hope the President and my democrat colleagues will offer serious proposals to find a solution instead of turning this situation into another crisis in January," said Risch.
And Crapo said the compromise "does almost nothing to address long-term mandatory spending and debt problems."
"Unfortunately, continuing resolutions perpetuate the problem of keeping government spending on autopilot. We cannot continue this unrestrained spending," said Crapo.