Washington, DC – Congressman Engel (D-NY-16) issued the following statement in response to House Republican brinksmanship on the looming government shutdown.  Rep. Engel is a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“With the House GOP backed into a corner as the Affordable Care Act is ready for implementation, they seem to be trying everything they can to destroy a bill that will provide insurance for children and makes health care more affordable – and that includes wrecking the U.S. economy and shutting down the federal government.  I’ve seen this behavior before, but it’s usually accompanied with a time-out and an early bed time.

“Unfortunately, these aren’t kids throwing temper tantrums.  This is the House Majority.  And the shutdown isn’t a joke – it is devastating and real.  Shutdown means over 800,000 federal workers furloughed.   You pick your agency – it gets hit.

“It means 72,000 federal employees will be out of work in New York.  The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be closed.  Almost 54,000 local Military members and 11,500 civilian employees will see their pay delayed if the shutdown lasts for more than 10 days.  Loans to small businesses would grind to a halt for 1,000 New York businesses.  Head Start will close affecting 52,000 children.  Food assistance for mothers (WIC) – shut down.

“Our economy, which is painfully and slowly recovering, will now regress with new jobs disappearing and people losing the jobs they have.

“These are games we cannot afford to play, but that reality is lost on the Tea Party House Majority that is begging for a shutdown.  Listen to GOP Tea Party Leadership: ‘It’s exactly what we wanted and we got it…’” (Washington Post, 9/28/13) 

“I encourage my sensible Republican colleagues to ignore the fringe elements and work for a realistic deal to keep the government fully funded.  There is still time for calmer heads to prevail; but time is running short.”