Missouri lawmaker says shutdown probably a long one
Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are disgusted with the ongoing government shutdown but showed no sign Thursday of a compromise.
Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer told KRCG 13 the situation in Congress reflects what he sees as a growing trend of partisanship in the United States. He said neither side has shown any willingness to negotiate and suspects the shutdown will last "likely several weeks."
"The gap is continuing to get bigger, wider and deeper," he said.
Luetkemeyer accused Democrats, and President Obama in particular, of exacerbating the situation, a position other Missouri Republicans took as well. Rep. Sam Graves accused Obama in a press release of using the bully pulpit "for political grandstanding, rather than engaging with the Congress."
Sen. Roy Blunt said in a statement, "Majority Leader Reid and his Democrat colleagues who control the Senate would rather continue waging a partisan battle."
There was no love lost on the other side of the aisle as Missouri's Democrats made similar comments about Republicans. None of Missouri's three Congressional Democrats responded to KRCG 13's calls Thursday afternoon, but press releases from Rep. William "Lacy" Clay's and Sen. Claire McCaskill's offices both blasted House Republicans as the cause of the shutdown.
Clay accused them of "hate(ing) the President more than they love their country," while McCaskill wrote, "It is completely unacceptable that U.S. House Republicans are willing to shut down the government." Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said he was open to amending the Affordable Care Act, but he was "not a believer in shutting down the entire government simply because one "side" cannot get everything it wants."
With the federal government partially shut down and the nation fast approaching its borrowing limit, there were no signs of breaking Washington's partisan gridlock. If Congress does not vote to raise the nation's debt ceiling on Oct. 17, the United States will default on its debts for the first time since 1790. Luetkemeyer would not say how likely he thought a default was, but he did not rule out the possibility.