As the federal government reached a deal last week to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a default on the country’s bills, Nevada’s senators and representatives were split on the issue. Nevada felt the effects from the partial shutdown as Great Basin National Park, among other national parks in Nevada, were closed during the shutdown period.
Republican Senator Dean Heller was one of 18 senators who opposed the deal.
“I wanted to be able to support a deal, but this proposal makes no underlying structural changes that will prevent this exact same crisis from happening again in the very near future,” Heller said in a statement. “Considering this legislation does nothing to place our nation on sound fiscal footing or cultivate a growth economy that will produce jobs in the long term, I cannot support it.”
Democratic Senator Harry Reid had a different view of the agreement, which passed with an overwhelming majority in the Senate. Reid, who spoke on the Senate floor, said while reaching a deal was difficult, it ultimately is a positive step for the country.
“The eyes of the world were on Washington (last) week,” Reid said. “And while they witnessed a great deal of political discord, they will also see Congress reach a historic, bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and avert a default on the nation’s bills. The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs.”
Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford also voted for the deal but criticized Congress for the process and length of time it took to reach a deal.
“While I am glad our country averted a fiscal crisis, Congress has wasted weeks sidestepping a disaster of its own creation,” Horsford said. “America teetered on the brink because House Republicans held the well-being of the country houstage for the sake of ideology. “
The deal reached is not a long-term solution and funds the government through January 15 and averts default through Feb. 7 of 2014. The lack of a long-term solution was another facet of the agreement that Sen. Heller criticized.
“For weeks, Washington, D.C. has been at an impasse,” Heller said. “Ultimately the only solution on which Congress could agree kicks the can down the road and delays the difficult decisions for three short months. Only by passing long-term budget and all spending bills on time can Washington, D.C. break this cycle of economic brinksmanship.”
For Horsford, the extra three months means that Congress must come together in order to find a solution come early next year.
“Moving forward, Congress must come together to construct a long-term budget solution that prioritizes its middle class,” Horsford said. “I’m thankful that Nevadans will be able to access many services they previously relied on before the government shutdown. The concerns of working Americans need to be front and center in our legislative work, not the concerns of political ideologies.”
Reid said the three month window will allow Congress to work towards a long-term agreement and that the current agreement sends a message that “the United States lives up to its obligations.”
While whether the deal reached by Congress last week was a positive step or simply delaying bigger decisions for down the road remains a hot topic across the country, Reid said the important thing is in the end, legislators came together to reach a deal.
“It’s never easy for two sides at odds to reach consensus,” Reid said. “After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of a disaster.
But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster.”