I am deeply upset to report that an extreme faction of the Republican party in the House of Representatives has continued to perpetuate a federal government shutdown and is threatening the full faith and credit of the United States. What disturbs me most is that this was entirely avoidable. Instead of governing, this extreme faction has united around a strategy of obstructionism to achieve radical policy goals. While Democrats have already compromised on a spending level acceptable to both parties, this minority has forced our government to shut down, and is now threatening to default on our obligations.
During this shutdown, 800,000 government workers have been furloughed, national parks are closed, school districts are denied federal funding, and veterans are having their benefits applications delayed. Nearly two weeks into the shutdown, the Republicans headed down a path to make the problems even worse, while I'm working toward a solution.
On Thursday, October 10, I took the first step in a process that would give the House of Representatives the opportunity to vote on a bill to guarantee our nation’s full faith and credit and take fighting about the nation’s debt limit off the table through the end of 2014. I introduced H.Res. 376, a resolution known as a rule--a legislative procedure in the House--that would allow me to use my debt limit legislation introduced earlier this year, H.R.233, as a vehicle to consider S. 1569, a bill currently being debated in the United States Senate to extend the debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default. Partnering with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin, I will soon file what is known as a discharge petition, a procedure to force a House vote on this rule. By securing the signatures of 218 Members of the House, which will require the bipartisan support of all Democrats and at least 17 Republicans, we will be able to have a vote on the floor to avoid a calamitous default.
Unfortunately, House Republicans have shown no interest in governing up to this point. Right now, they are threatening to default—already eroding our nation's credibility throughout global political and economic institutions. Fidelity Investments has announced it sold certain U.S. treasury debt due to the political failures of an extreme faction. The San Jose Mercury News has reported that tech companies have lost significant value because of the political uncertainty right now. I have taken this action to address the debt limit in the long term in order to protect individuals, businesses and the nation's credibility.
The government shutdown has important consequences for Silicon Valley. Some functions of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office have been impacted, and if the shutdown lasts for more than four weeks, it could be forced to close its doors. The Small Business Administration is unable to approve loans for small businesses, and there are delays in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s processing of initial public offerings. Federal agencies have suspended responses to Freedom of Information Act requests--resulting in delayed transparency and a closed government -- and hundreds of people have been sickened in a salmonella outbreak while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ability to track the spread of the illness is hampered due to furloughs. Domestic violence agencies are facing the prospect of shutting their doors next week, leaving Bay Area residents in need of assistance with nowhere to turn.
I assure you that I will continue working in Washington to end this unnecessary crisis as quickly as possible. I encourage you to share, below, your story on how this affects you, your family or your business.