Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to allow a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution to reopen the government. Speaker Boehner has been sitting on the bill since the Senate sent it to him last Tuesday but he won’t allow a vote on the House floor. Bringing the bill to the floor could allow the government to reopen immediately.
“Children, seniors, small business owners and middle class families across Pennsylvania are being hurt by this shutdown,” said Senator Casey. “This bill has bipartisan support and it is unimaginable that Speaker Boehner refuses to allow a vote when it could reopen the government today.”
The full text of the letter is below:
October 8, 2013
Dear Speaker Boehner,
I write to urge you to hold a vote on passage of a clean continuing resolution that will fund all government operations.
The shutdown of the federal government has hurt my constituents and citizens across the country. The impacts are being felt across the board—on small businesses, states and municipalities, and families.
In Pennsylvania alone, 30 loans on average are made each week by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a total of $13 million. The loss of these loans is hindering entrepreneurs from growing their businesses and obtaining much needed capital. During the past week, I have heard directly from small business owners who are feeling the effects of the shutdown. Thousands of businesses across the country have contracts with the federal government and will have payment delayed, while others rely upon the use of government websites and software to conduct business.
Individuals and families are also bearing the brunt of the government shutdown. As the shutdown moves into its second week, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will no longer be funded. WIC provides vital nutritional services to more than 8.9 million participants per month, including 4.7 million children and 2.1 million infants. 250,000 women and their children rely on this program in Pennsylvania. In terms of Social Security, on average 2,900 new claims are processed each week in the Commonwealth. This means that Pennsylvanians who have reached retirement and have paid into the system their entire careers are now forced to wait for benefits. The shutdown is also affecting the nearly 400,000 students in Pennsylvania that borrow from the federal government as their loan payments are now delayed until the government is reopened.
Moreover, the shutdown is impacting infrastructure and public lands across the country. Until the government is reopen, maintenance of our nation’s locks and dams is deferred. I have been informed that repairs that were scheduled to take place on locks along the Lower Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania are suspended. If one of these locks were to fail, it could have a detrimental economic impact in the region. Additionally, the closure of national parks is negatively impacting the state’s economy. According to the National Park Service, the communities and business surrounding Pennsylvania’s national parks and memorials are losing up to $5.7 million in spending by non-local visitors for each week the government remains closed.
We can relieve the burdens that so many are bearing by providing funding for all government operations. The majority of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, including five Republican members of the House of Representatives, is publicly supportive of the passage of a clean spending bill that will reopen the government. I urge you to hold a vote on Senate Amendment 1974 to House Joint Resolution 59 as soon as possible. Each day that passes without a vote causes more uncertainty and difficulty for citizens across the country.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.