Like all Americans, I am extremely frustrated in Congress' inability to compromise. My message to Idahoans is that I am sorry for the failure of your elected leaders to fulfill their most basic duty. We are a diverse nation with many different viewpoints, but all Americans expect their government to continue functioning, day in and day out.
I strongly believe there has to be a way to address our nation's significant policy disagreements without causing Americans to suffer the uncertainty of a shutdown, and that is the outcome I will continue working toward with my colleagues until it is resolved.
I have encouraged my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come to the table with serious proposals that could end this crisis immediately. The shutdown has gone on far too long with far too little progress until this point. The President brought forward a thoughtful compromise over the weekend, but I was yet again disappointed that the Democrats dismissed the proposal before details were even announced. Americans deserve real negotiations that result in meaningful progress — not partisan pandering.
Today, the House voted on a package of bills that were negotiated last year between the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats. Although it does not represent my preferred starting place for negotiations, I support it because it includes provisions that are important for Idaho that I personally worked to secure, including increased funding for sage grouse conservation, federal Payments In Lieu of Taxes, wildfire prevention and suppression, and a prohibition on listing sage grouse as an endangered species, among many others.
My hope is that it will be conferenced with the President’s plan being voted on in the Senate this week, a plan that acknowledges and addresses the very real crisis at our southern border.
To Idaho, a shutdown means thousands of furloughs for government workers and contractors, a significant reduction in the work being done by the Forest Service to prevent catastrophic wildfires, and the added backlog to the deferred maintenance on our public lands and National Parks, to name just a few things.
It is unacceptable to jeopardize the pay of our hard-working civil servants from carrying out their service to the American people. I understand the burden that this has created for many families, and I commend the men and women in our country are currently working with their pay withheld or who are furloughed. I truly hope that my colleagues and I can break this impasse this week so that we can all go back to work in addressing this country’s other real challenges.