The following is a statement released Tuesday by local Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) on the government shutdown in Washington:
“The House GOP has voted to ensure a harmful, and completely avoidable, shutdown of federal government operations beginning today. It is deeply reckless that the House leadership and its Tea Party-dominated caucus have abdicated their responsibility to govern and, instead, have chosen to pursue partisan political goals at the expense of the American people’s interests.
“I share the frustration of my constituents that Congress failed to reach an agreement to keep the government operating. However, having failed repeatedly to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the democratic and judicial processes, the House GOP has taken the government — and potentially the nation’s full faith and credit — as a hostage. Funding the authorized operations of the government and paying our bills is not a concession to Democrats. It’s our job.
“My GOP colleagues should not demand a ransom for simply fulfilling their responsibilities. That is not negotiating or governing in good faith. Giving in to these unreasonable demands would not only jeopardize affordable health coverage for millions of Americans but also further embolden those willing to use destructive tactics to get their way.
“I remain hopeful that there will be a change of heart among my colleagues and the destructive effects of this shutdown will be reversed soon. My offices on Long Island and in Washington will remain open to serve my constituents during this period. It is important to note that Social Security payments, and Medicare and Medicaid coverage are funded through a mandatory appropriations process and will not be affected.”