Midlanders stand their ground on shutdown bill - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:04 am
Midlanders stand their ground on shutdown bill

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Harkin is urging House members to quickly sign off on the legislation approved Friday by the Senate.

The Iowa Democrat noted that the legislation, approved on a party-line, 54-44 vote, would avert a government shutdown that is only a few days away.

“Our economy cannot sustain another manufactured crisis,” he said, “which is why I hope the U.S. House will recognize the urgency of this situation, put ideology aside, and act swiftly to take up and pass this measure.”

But House Republicans have made it clear that they are going to make some revisions to the bill this weekend and send it back.

And Nebraska's U.S. senators, both Republicans, were highly critical of the process that led to Friday's Senate approval, saying they had to oppose the bill even though they think a shutdown would be bad news.

“I'm not in favor of a shutdown, I've said that all along,” Sen. Deb Fischer said shortly after voting against the legislation.

Fischer criticized the current dynamic in Washington of lurching from one emergency situation to another — from potential military strikes against Syria to budget battles.

She said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has shut members out from offering amendments on major legislation.

“I'm frustrated today, and it's because nobody talks about this stuff — we go from crisis to crisis,” Fischer said.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said he voted against the legislation because it would violate previously established spending levels by $18 billion.

He also noted that Democrats stripped out language that had been approved by the House to defund the new health care law.

“In the end, we were left with a bill I could no longer support,” Johanns said.

On the votes to strip out the health care law provisions and for final passage, all the senators from Nebraska and Iowa stuck with their respective parties.

But the first vote of the day was on whether to move forward at all on the version of the bill approved by the House, which included the provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other conservatives had urged their colleagues to block the measure from advancing to debate because it was obvious that Democrats would take out those provisions before final passage.

Many of Cruz's Republican colleagues rejected that thinking, however, saying it made no sense to block a bill they supported. The Senate opted to move forward by a vote of 79-19.

Harkin and Johanns voted to move forward. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Fischer stood with Cruz and voted against moving ahead.

Now the hot potato goes back to the House. If the two chambers can't get something to the president's desk by Monday night, it will mean a government shutdown.

“Shutting down the government would deny Iowa's children, seniors, veterans, and small businesses many of the critical services they rely on to meet their daily needs,” Harkin said. “Now the House needs to stop holding middle class families hostage to their demands to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act and act responsibly to keep our economy moving in the right direction.”

Contact the writer: Joseph Morton

joe.morton@owh.com    |  

Joe is The World-Herald's Washington, D.C., bureau, covering national political developments that matter most to Midlanders.

Explosive device blows hole in windshield, damages another car
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
19-year-old arrested in connection with March shooting
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
Keystone XL pipeline backers blast 'political expediency' as foes hail ruling to delay decision
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Nebraska senators to study tax issues over break
Portion of Saddle Creek Road closed after water main break
Teenager arrested after woman's purse is snatched outside Omaha store
Police identify 21-year-old shot in ankle near 30th, W Streets
Cult murderer's death row appeal denied, but execution in limbo
Beau McCoy strikes Obama doll in TV ad; Democrats are not happy
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
Interstate construction to cause lane shifts, closings in Omaha area
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
< >
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »