Himes says D.C. budget, debt crisis ‘beneath the dignity of a great nation’

With an agreement to open the federal government and increase the federal debt limit likely to be approved by Congress in the coming hours, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said the crisis should never have happened.

“I’m pleased that we have averted a default on the United States’ obligations and that we are finally opening the government, but it should never have come to this,” said Himes, a Democrat whose district includes most of Shelton.

“We will vote on a plan today that we have known for two weeks both the House and Senate could pass,” he said.

‘Cost the American people billions’

Himes said because of the shutdown, which he blames on Republicans, “families lost paychecks, young students missed school, and seniors and children missed meals. The uncertainty and lost spending caused by the shutdown cost the American people billions in productivity and wages.”

The possible debt default also has negatively impacted the economy, he said. “The possibility of a default threatened retirement accounts, home mortgages, and credit card rates,” said Himes, now serving his third term.

“The American people cannot afford these manufactured crises, which are beneath the dignity of a great nation,” he said.

Governing involves compromise

Himes said the bill expected to pass the U.S. Senate, and — with somewhat less certainty — the U.S. House and then be signed into law by President Obama “reflects good-faith, bipartisan negotiations that should have occurred long ago and provides a way forward at this late stage. Our job is to govern, which means we must compromise.

“I am hopeful that this legislation, which we expect to pass with the support of House Leadership and most rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers, begins to put an end to governing by crisis and hostage-taking by a small but energized minority,” he said.

More bipartisan work needed

The American people, Himes said, “want immigration reform, long-term deficit reduction, and legislation that will invest in our future and create jobs. The votes exist, and it is time to move forward with more bipartisan work

“I’m proud,” he continued, “to have worked with many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I hope the possibility of action on the issues that matter most to the American people gives more representatives the courage join these bipartisan efforts.”