Frelinghuysen, Senators Split On Ending Shutdown

By on January 22, 2018

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11), who represents the congressional district that includes Verona, voted today for legislation that will end the federal government shutdown that began Friday night. New Jersey’s senators, Democrats Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, voted against the Senate’s version of the Continuing Resolution (CR), saying it failed to resolve many of the problems that face the country.

The CR will only maintain government funding through February 8. It does, however, revive federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and extends it for six years. Washington’s funding for CHIP lapsed last September 30 after lawmakers failed to reauthorize the 20-year-old program, which provides insurance for children whose parents can’t afford other coverage but don’t qualify for Medicaid.

“This legislation will allow time for Congress and the White House to continue to negotiate a longer term funding agreement, while maintaining essential government programs and services,” said Frelinghuysen, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “The Appropriations Committee and the House passed all 12 Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations bills in September 2017, along with other critical measures such as funding for emergency disaster relief more recently. The Senate has not. In order to negotiate and finally enact this essential legislation, there must be a bipartisan agreement between the House, Senate, and White House on year-long funding levels. It is the Constitutional duty of Congress to provide resources for the needs of our people and our Armed Forces. My Committee stands at the ready to fulfill this responsibility, and will work as quickly as possible to complete these funding bills as soon as the overall agreement is reached.”

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But Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez joined 14 other Democratic senators, and two Republicans, in voting no on the stopgap spending measure, which does not include a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was created by the Obama administration to give immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents as children without proper documentation a respite from deportation. The young people covered by the program are often referred to as Dreamers.

“Republicans, who control the White House, Senate, and House, have a duty to govern responsibly,” Booker wrote on Twitter. “Pitting our most vulnerable against one another is no way to govern. Neither is passing another short-term funding bill—a practice the Pentagon called ‘wasteful and destructive’.”

“I couldn’t vote for this CR [continuing resolution] because nothing in the bill gave me any confidence that in three weeks Congress won’t end up exactly where we are today. #TrumpShutdown,” Menendez posted on Twitter. He also a released a video of a call with a working New Jersey Latinos on what may lie ahead for the so-called Dream Act.

President Trump must sign the CR tonight for the shutdown to end.

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