U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, a Southampton native whose district spans from Montauk and Orient to Smithtown, said Tuesday that the federal government shutdown was reckless and completely avoidable.
Bishop, a Democrat, said that the House leadership and Republican Caucus “have abdicated their responsibility to govern and, instead, have chosen to pursue partisan political goals at the expense of the American people’s interests.” He said the caucus is dominated by Tea Party forces and demanding a ransom to simply fulfill their responsibilities.
“I share the frustration of my constituents that Congress failed to reach an agreement to keep the government operating,” Bishop said. “However, having failed repeatedly to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the democratic and judicial processes, the House GOP has taken the government—and potentially the nation’s full faith and credit—as a hostage. Funding the authorized operations of the government and paying our bills is not a concession to Democrats. It’s our job.”
However, Republicans lay blame for the shutdown at the feet of the Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner calls it “the Democrats’ shutdown.”
“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats chose to shut down the government rather than discuss or even recognize ObamaCare’s failures,” Boehner said. “The best path forward right now is for both chambers to convene a formal conference committee where we can resolve our differences, and move forward on important legislation that gets control of spending and strengthens our economy.”
Bishop said Republicans are not negotiating in good faith. “Giving in to these unreasonable demands would not only jeopardize affordable health coverage for millions of Americans but also further embolden those willing to use destructive tactics to get their way.”
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will continue to be funded and his offices will be open to constituents, Bishop noted. His office also listed a number of effects the federal shutdown has on the East End.
At the 106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski Air Base in Westhampton, 218 “dual status” technicians are furloughed. Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Noyac is closed. Calverton National Cemetery is funded through October 15, but if the shutdown goes on past that date two-thirds of employees will be furloughed and the number of burials will be reduced.
The Army Corps of Engineers will continue to fund Superstorm Sandy-related projects, including an emergency project to stabilize the beach in downtown Montauk, and the Fire Island to Montauk Point Study. However, Bishop’s office noted that a prolonged shutdown could have an effect on construction projects.