Give us a chance to vote

By From page A8 | October 15, 2013

As your congressman, I want to give your readers an update on the government shutdown and the impact for Yolo.

The shutdown has been very disruptive in this region. The USDA headquarters at Davis is shuttered, harming farmers. Critical research is being delayed. Our ability to monitor contagious diseases is limited. The processing of cases is delayed at Social Security, Medicare and the VA.

National parks, forests and refuges, including state gems like Yosemite, are closed to the public with park rangers unable to work. A number of nonprofits in our region have seen their federal support suspended. If this drags on much longer, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will go into the red.

The government shutdown is incredibly disruptive for millions of Americans and our economy. We got into this situation after the tea party faction in the House Republican Caucus demanded the full repeal and later a delay of the Affordable Care Act. Every law can be improved, but it should be handled through the normal legislative process and not by holding the American economy or government hostage.

The House of Representatives must be allowed to vote on the Senate’s compromise bill to reopen the government. The Senate bill would pass the House with a bipartisan majority and immediately end this shutdown. Moreover, the Senate continuing resolution already represents a substantial compromise from House Democrats, locking in steep sequester cuts to services like Meals-on-Wheels and Head Start that I voted seven times to end. But I’m willing to take the tough vote to end this impasse.

After ending this crisis, Congress can meet in a conference committee to pass a budget. Working together, we can set the framework for funding levels and keep the government open. I’ve called for this process since April. Speaker John Boehner now says he wants it, too, but the midst of a shutdown is not the time to hash out a budget.

Let’s end this manufactured crisis and bring all parties to the table. What needs to be off the table is governing by crisis.

Rep. John Garamendi

D-Walnut Grove

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