December 11, 2017
    Associations called for end to shutdown, raising debt ceiling

    A short-term bill ending the partial government shutdown - and which includes raising the debt ceiling - was passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by President Obama early Thursday. Many associations had voiced support for ending the impasse.

    In the House, the bill passed 285-144 with all House Democrats and 87 Republicans voting in favor. The Senate, where the bill originated, earlier voted 81-18. The bill sends furloughed federal workers back to their jobs for now, but doesn’t settle many of the issues that brought the government to this historic partial shutdown of the federal government.

    The final bill funds the government through Jan. 15, raises the debt cap through Feb. 7, and provides back-pay for furloughed workers. Congress faced an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. 

    Republican leaders backed down on their demands to include provisions regarding the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Earlier in the week, they were unable to gain enough votes for a GOP plan and House leaders decided to go with the Senate bill. The one provision regarding ACA that was included calls for verification of the income of those receiving healthcare subsidies. Also, a bipartisan budget committee must report on a broader plan by mid-December.  In the end, Democrats got the clean funding bill and debt-cap increase they wanted before the shutdown started on Oct. 1.

    Associations called for an end to the shutdown.

    U.S. Chamber CEO and past TRENDS Association Executive of the Year Tom Donohue said, “We applaud passage of this legislation and thank House and Senate leaders for their efforts to get this done. Reaching an agreement on a path forward is an important step in preventing unnecessary damage to our economy and preserving the full faith and credit of the United States.

    “The Chamber urges the administration and Congress to avoid a self-made economic crisis in upcoming debates by committing to work with one another on a plan to restrain federal spending, correct the unsustainable growth of entitlements, reduce our debt, and enact comprehensive tax reform.”

    Marie Lopez Rogers, president of the National League of Cities, and mayor of Avondale, Ariz., before the House vote said, "We encourage all members of the House to support this deal to open up the government and raise the debt ceiling. The vote will end a terrible situation that created enormous risks to the economy with almost nothing in return.

    “We hope this vote will free up Congress to work on the issues that matter to cities like marketplace fairness, comprehensive immigration reform, and making the investments in our communities that will create the building blocks for future economic growth and prosperity.

    “As our City Fiscal Conditions report last week showed, cities are still recovering from the recession. The idea that the nation could go through this again in a few short months is intolerable. It hurts our communities and families and drives away investments. Let’s get this behind us and move on to issues that matter. The uncertainty created by the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling debate have clear economic consequences to our long-term growth.”

    “Washington needs to stop playing political games that hurt the economy and our nation’s families.”

    In a letter last week to the Senate Banking Committee, National Association of Federal Credit Unions CEO Dan Berger implored lawmakers to resolve the debt limit issue before today’s deadline.

    “Failure to address the debt ceiling would threaten growth and recovery, deter investor confidence in the United States and breed uncertainty on a global scale. Financial institutions of all sizes, including credit unions, need to have certainty and stability in order to meet the credit needs of consumers across the country,” he said.

    This message was uploaded to the National Parks Conservation Association website: "After a 16-day federal shutdown, Congress and the administration passed compromise legislation that would temporarily fund the government and reopen parks. Much work remains to address the long-term funding needs of our country’s best places.

    "Whether it’s because of a senseless government shutdown or a damaging set of budget cuts, national parks and the people who enjoy and depend on them continue to suffer from a failed budget process. After hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts to national parks the last few years, we have two questions for Washington—when are you going to reopen the parks, and what will you do to repair the damage this budget process has already done? Our national parks should be open, and funding should be restored to provide visitors with safe and inspiring experiences."

    Association TRENDS