NM lawmakers react to government shutdown

Posted at: 10/01/2013 8:48 AM
Updated at: 10/01/2013 9:37 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

For the first time in 17 years, the government is partially shut down.

At midnight eastern time on Monday night, the federal government ran out of time to pass a spending bill. House Republicans wanted changes to the Affordable Care Act, but Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama refused.

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed. Veteran's centers, all national parks and most of NASA will be closed.

The federal workers affected will have to show up to work for about four hours today to change voicemails and complete time cards.

Gov. Susana Martinez said New Mexico has enough funding within state agencies to get through two to four weeks, but told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that lawmakers need to find common ground.

"We're scrambling as a state to make sure the impact is lessened on the people of New Mexico so we can keep functioning and providing all of what we as a state should be providing to the people of our state," Gov. Martinez said.

Right after the shutdown, KOB heard from state lawmakers.

"As a result, I have made the difficult decision that my staff will be furloughed," Republican Rep. Steve Pearce wrote. "And, though the constitution requires that members of Congress must be paid, I will pay back to the U.S. treasury the salary I am paid during the shutdown."

New Mexico's two other representatives, both Democrats, pointed the blame at their Republican colleagues.

"Enough is enough. House Republicans must end these political games and immediately pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government and stop harming the American people," wrote Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan echoed similar sentiments, writing, "It's time for House Republicans to stop playing games, stop trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act, and pass a clean bill that funds the government."

New Mexico's senators also voiced their frustrations.

"Insisting on a government shutdown to prove a point isn't leadership, it's a temper tantrum, and the American people are rightly disgusted," Democratic Sen. Tom Udall wrote.

"Closing down the government strikes at the heart of New Mexico's economy and our middle-class families. And that was the decision Republicans made," Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich wrote.