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Congressman Tom O´Halleran

Representing the 1st District of Arizona

O’Halleran, Members to Speaker Ryan: Show Leadership & Bring Solution Forward

January 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as a government shutdown looms over Washington, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Charlie Crist (FL-13) led a letter signed by five other members of Congress to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In the letter, the lawmakers, who previously supported continuing resolutions this fiscal year, expressed their concern over the absence of a critical budget agreement and bipartisan solutions to the challenges our nation faces.

“We have voted for multiple short-term funding bills in good faith and under assurances from House and Senate leaders that additional time was needed to negotiate a critical long-term budget agreement to increase funding for our military and domestic programs, disaster relief, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers and protecting DREAMers,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is clear at this point that Congressional leaders are no closer to securing bipartisan solutions, despite ample opportunity to forge consensus. We see no evidence that yielding more time will result in a process that allows us to resolve these issues.”

Since October 2017, Congress has voted on three short-term continuing resolutions in lieu of a budget. According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, short-term spending bills cost agencies like the Veterans Health Administration millions of dollars in lost productivity and extra work. Failing to pass a full-year funding bill also jeopardizes the ability of federal law enforcement agencies and our Armed Forces to make long-term strategic decisions about our national security.

“Mr. Speaker, it is past time for a long-term solution for national defense, DREAMers, CHIP, community health centers, and disaster relief,” the letter reads. “You have the power to set the agenda and bring a thoughtful agreement forward to achieve those goals with overwhelming bipartisan votes. You have the power to prevent a disastrous government shutdown.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Raul Ruiz, and Dave Loebsack (IA-02)

Read the full letter below or click here.

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Dear Speaker Ryan,

As a government shutdown once again looms before Congress, we write with great concern for the lack of meaningful progress on our nation’s priorities.

We have voted for multiple short-term funding bills in good faith, and under assurances from House and Senate leaders, that additional time was needed to negotiate a critical long-term budget agreement to increase funding for our military and domestic programs, disaster relief, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers, and to protect DREAMers.

It is clear at this point that Congressional leaders are no closer to securing bipartisan solutions, despite ample opportunity to forge consensus. We see no evidence that yielding more time will result in a process that allows us to resolve these issues.

Supporting a robust military, providing health care to children, and protecting DREAMers are not – and have never been – mutually exclusive priorities. Members on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to reach a compromise despite heated rhetoric from party factions. We, and many other thoughtful Republicans and Democrats, have been willing and eager to find common ground and advance fiscally-responsible proposals that invest in our nation and expand opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, it is past time for a long-term solution for national defense, DREAMers, CHIP, community health centers, and disaster relief. You have the power to set the agenda and bring a thoughtful agreement forward to achieve those goals with overwhelming bipartisan votes. You have the power to prevent a disastrous government shutdown.

We know the unique, but necessary, challenge of putting principle over party. The American people voted for us – and you – to solve problems together, not play games. The last shutdown cost our economy $24 billion dollars. As we edge closer to another shutdown that will harm our economy and families across the nation, we urge you to come to the table with a commonsense compromise.