U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner was one of several Colorado members in Congress who passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown.
Upon voting in favor of the latest fiscal bill in the House, Gardner said in a news release Thursday: “America does not default on its debt. We pay our bills. Our nation is tired of the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington, and rightfully so. Over two weeks have elapsed since the government shut down, and it is time for us to move forward as a nation and ensure that we pay our debts on time.”
The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the bill, which hewed strictly to the terms President Barack Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.
The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid — those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.
Republican Reps. Gardner, Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton voted in favor of the proposal, while Rep. Doug Lamborn voted no. Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis voted in support of the proposal.
Colorado’s Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet voted yes on the Senate bill.
Gardner said the economic impact of a default would be dire, and would result in, among other things, an increase in interest rates.
“A one percent increase in interest would add over $120 billion a year in debt. While this bill does retain the largest spending cuts in a generation — the sequester — this short-term spending measure and debt-limit increase does not address our long-term fiscal problems, plain and simple,” said Gardner, the second-term congressman from Yuma who represents Weld County in the 4th Congressional District.
Over the past two weeks, Gardner and five other Republican congressmen began working with Democrats and Republicans on a proposal to lower the debt, cut spending, reform the tax code, and fix the country’s broken entitlement system in what Gardner said to give children and grandchildren a thriving America.
“I believe this plan will be our solution going forward as it also contains a series of enforcement mechanisms to ensure that Congress actually follows through with its job to make sure we are not stuck in another cycle of shutdowns and showdowns — it incentivizes members of both parties to work together,” Gardner said. “This framework is a far better solution than the short-term measure passed tonight.”
Gardner said flood victims in Colorado can expect to receive funding from the recent disaster.
“Coloradans, especially those who have been impacted by the disastrous flooding, can rest a little easier knowing that they too are included in this legislation. I have been working night and day to ensure that Coloradans receive the disaster assistance they need to stabilize and rebuild their lives and communities,” Gardner said. “When it came to light that funding caps would need to be raised in order for Colorado to receive all of the money it required to rebuild its roads and bridges, I led the charge in the House of Representatives to pass legislation that would raise those caps, and the legislation passed unanimously.”
Gardner has never been one to hide his disdain for Obamacare.
“The rollout of Obamacare has been nothing short of disastrous. Forcing Americans to legally purchase a product that has proven nearly impossible to purchase boggles the mind,” Gardner said. “My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have exempted unions, big businesses, and Congress — why not offer this same treatment to the American people as well? That is why I remain committed to fully repealing and replacing Obamacare, as I have been since I began serving in this body. Its effect on our healthcare system, economy, and quality of care that Americans receive will be felt by everyone. This law must be stopped and I will do everything I can to stop it. Now we will be able to focus on the train wreck this bill truly is. As a country and as a Congress, we can do better, and future generations of Americans expect nothing less. It is far past time for us to put our country on a path to fiscal solvency, one in which we pay down our debt, reform our tax code, and create an environment in which a pro-growth economy will thrive.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.