Pa. Leaders React to Federal Budget Agreement

By Laura Bonawits, Contributing Writer

After news reports, breaking news e-mails and cell phone push notifications alerted the nation late Friday night that a federal budget agreement was met and a government shutdown pushed off the radar, Pennsylvania representatives voiced their thoughts on the deal– with Democrats and Republicans alike expressing relief a shutdown was averted.

Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey agreed the deal will have to do in the meantime, but noted there is still much deliberation to come.

“Brinksmanship and short-term appropriations bills are no way to run a government,” Sen. Casey said in an issued statement. “A government shutdown would hurt the economy and hurt Pennsylvanians.  I am pleased a government shutdown has been avoided for now.  However, the difficulties in performing the basic function of keeping the government operating does not bode well for the work ahead to create jobs and cut spending,” he said.

Sen. Toomey reiterated his support for the bill and said Congress could not continue “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to the budget. “Hopefully, we can soon get back to addressing the nation’s pressing issues such as private sector job creation, gas prices, the debt limit, and a fiscally responsible budget for the upcoming fiscal year,” he said.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11) felt the deal was a good starting point in squashing the debt. “Now the hard work begins. We saved billions in the continuing resolutions we passed over the last several weeks; now, we can move on to saving trillions of dollars and reducing the mountains of debt we’re piling onto our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Stating that his goal all along was to keep government open for business, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8) praised the deal’s cuts to wasteful spending. “This budget agreement reduces federal spending by $38.5 billion. This is the largest decrease in federal spending in any year since the end of World War II,” he said. “While this number is significant, much work remains.  With agreement on the 2011 fiscal year spending plan in place, I look forward to tackling the important issues facing my district and our nation.”

Rep. Charles Dent (R-15) denounced a government shutdown, dubbing what could have been as a “complete failure of our most basic responsibilities as elected officials.

To Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9), the budget deal is just one hurdle down in reaching a long-term goal. “[The] vote sets the stage for the debate over the next important choice for America’s future: the adoption of the Republican Path to Prosperity – a budget that will cut over $6 trillion in spending over the next ten years, defund Obamacare and address our looming entitlement crisis,” he said.

One of the most divisive issues in reaching a budget deal, funding for Planned Parenthood, did not make the cut but heads for more deliberation in the weeks to come. Chaka Fattah (D-2), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, expressed his support for funding the program. Before the deal passed Friday, he issued a statement that the “well-being of 300 million Americans who count on government services must not be held hostage by Republicans who continue to threaten a shut down over the healthcare of women.”

April 13th, 2011 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Harrisburg | No Comments