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Mary Landrieu Slams GOP on Govt. Shutdown, Vitter Says It's Not So Bad

With the government shutdown in its third week and the deadline to raise the debt ceiling looming on Thursday, Sens and Reps have still yet to reach a deal that would get government employees back to work, and keep the nation from defaulting on its debt. At a Small Business Committee hearing today and a press availability that followed, Louisiana's Senior U.S. Senator lashed out at Republicans for blocking a budget measure that would fund the government, and end the shutdown.


Landrieu said the shutdown is "impacting not just the 800,000 federal workers but many, many -- literally hundreds of thousands -- of private sector businesses large and small."


At this stage, the two sides seemed to have settled on the fact that the only likely deal would come in the form of a short-term fix that would temporarily reopen the government, and extend the debt ceiling deadline.


"Whether you're listening to what the Republicans are saying, or the Democrats, or the Senate or the House, the short term nature of (and compromise) is still very unsettling to bankers, to businesses, particularly to small businesses, and its impact on the real estate market will be devastating," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat.


The shutdown came after a group of conservatives in the House of Representatives refused to vote on the budget measure, known as a continuing resolution, unless it contained a provision that would defund parts of Obamacare. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans can't work out a deal on the debt ceiling because Republican leaders want to use the bill as a chance to address long-term fiscal issues, and the President refuses to negotiate.


At the beginning of Tuesday, the President and Senate leaders were working on a deal that would fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the debt limit until Feb. 7. Later on Tuesday, however, House leaders were trying to work out a compromise that would reopen the government through Dec. 15, and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7. But House Speaker John Boehner couldn't find the votes, according to Politico.


The deal also contained a provision that has been championed by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) that would curtail the health care plans of many Washington officials and their staffs, and require them to purchase Obamacare. Obama threatened a veto over the Vitter measure, reports said this afternoon.


“This is really about fairness, making sure that Washington is forced to live under the same train wreck of Obamacare that is forced on the rest of America,” Vitter said in a statement released after his amendment was included in the doomed compromise bill. “It will take the policy makers in Washington walking in the same shoes as the millions of Americans to actually make real policy changes, and clean up the train wreck.”


Landrieu took issue with the Republican's tactics, and listed a "Wall of Shame" of Senators who refused to vote for a conference committee that could have passed the continuing resolution. The names she listed off -- all Republicans -- included Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Vitter was also part of the "cabal" that denied a conference on the budget, Landrieu said.


"There are some members of our delegation that appear gleeful based on the comments I've read," Landrieu said. "They've quote 'got us where they want us' using the shutdown and using the threat of default to extract things from a political process that they couldn't win in an election. And that is just wrong."


Landrieu called the Republicans' actions "reckless" and "irresponsible."


"They're still demanding their way or the highway and have absolutely stood up and said, 'Yes, it's okay to shut the government down. Yes, it is okay to risk the full faith and credit of the United States.' And I want to say, 'It is not okay. It is wrong. It is reckless. It is irresponsible,' the Senator said.


A fired up Landrieu said there was no room debate about who was right anymore.


"There are two sides to every argument, but theres one side in this argument that's more right than not," she said. "And, I believe that I have that side."


Meanwhile, even as the dealmaking continued, Vitter and other GOP leaders of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee published a "Top 10" list detailing, "Why the Shutdown Isn't All That Bad." Vitter is the ranking member on the committee. Find the full list here.


Here are the top 3 reasons, which include mentions of offshore oil and gas drilling, and former EPA Administrator and New Orleans native Lisa Jackson.


3. Far-left environmentalists prove themselves hypocrites again: They criticize continuing oil and gas production on federal lands during the shutdown but issue no call to halt wind turbines

"It's disappointing that the public is shut out from national parks but oil companies get to drill in them." - Alex Taurel, Deputy Legislative Director at the League of Conservation Voters

Vitter has repeatedly pointed out the hypocrisy of the Administration pursuing cases involving oil and gas producers, and not wind energy producers. The Administration has taken legal action against oil and gas producers whose operations have resulted in the death of birds. On the other hand, they have failed to pursue action against, and even offered waivers to, the companies who operate wind turbines that kill birds, including bald eagles, on leased federal lands. It was recently reported that "wind turbines kill over 600,000 birds annually."




2. President Obama has a temporary excuse for his stonewalling on FOIA and other transparency demands of the Administration

Currently over 90% of EPA's employees are furloughed. EPW Republicans have focused on the lack of transparency within the Obama Administration, particularly at the EPA, but also at the Treasury Department who have refused to release their involvement in developing a carbon tax.


And the number 1 reason the government shutdown isn't all bad...



1. Richard Windsor has been furloughed-for good!

"Richard Windsor," the now infamous email alias for former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, has been touted by the Administration as an example of standard procedure for high level employees. As it would turn out, from 2009 to 2012, EPA awarded ethics certificates to the employee "Richard Windsor" who was also described as a top student in the Agency's ethical-behavior class. Click here to read more.

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