Government shutdown avoidable urges GOP freshmen

A group of 11 freshman Republican members of Congress are voicing their opposition to another government shutdown.

Reps. Ryan Costello (R-Penn.) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) are spearheading the latest call to Congress in a letter simply addressed to “dear colleague.”

“We believe Congress should complete its work and provide funding for the federal government through Sept. 30, 2016, but we are willing to support a short-term resolution that will give both the House and the Senate the additional time necessary to negotiate final spending numbers,” the letter said.

Members also said their constituents expect them to avoid past mistakes, citing the $24 billion the economy lost during the 16-day shutdown in 2013.

A request to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)’s office for comment was not immediately returned.

The Senate rejected, through a 47-52 vote, a short term continuing resolution that would keep the government open through Dec. 11, but it also included controversial language that would defund Planned Parenthood.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said this latest call against a shutdown is a good sign.

“The reason I think that that is good news is that there should be bipartisan acknowledgement that a government shutdown is not in the best interests of the country,” Earnest said during his daily press briefing Sept. 23. “It’s certainly not in the best interests of our economy.”

Earnest said there haven’t been many conversations at the president’s level about the possibility of another shutdown. Senior members of the president’s team and other leaders at the Office of Management and Budget will be in town and available to answer any questions that come up from Congress, he said.

“The Administration urges the Congress to pass full-year appropriations legislation for FY 2016 that excludes ideological provisions that are intended to advance a narrow political agenda, reverses sequestration for defense and non-defense priorities, and makes critical investments needed to support national security and sustain economic growth.”

In a statement Monday, OMB said the Obama administration is willing to accept a clean, short-term CR to keep the government open past Sept. 30. But with less than a full week until the end of the fiscal year, OMB is helping agencies prepare their plans for “an orderly shutdown.”

“It is only prudent for the federal government to begin planning for the possibility that the government could shut down,” Earnest said Wednesday.  “And so at this point, they’re only in the planning stage.  And it means making sure that agencies are aware of their responsibilities in the event of a government shutdown and there have been some communications from the Office of Management and Budget to federal agencies about this.”

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