WASHINGTON – Eight Democrats in Texas' congressional delegation sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Monday outlining the effects of the federal government shutdown on the state and demanding a clean continuing resolution — legislation to fund the budget without language defunding President Obama’s health care law.
“Frankly, no issue is worth shutting down the government and denying pay to those committed to public service,” U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, said in an interview. “There is enough support to reopen the doors today if you let Democrat and Republican rank-and-file members vote today, but the speaker and [House Majority Leader] Rep. [Eric] Cantor have blocked the vote from coming up.”
U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston; Henry Cuellar, D-San Antonio; Gene Green, D-Houston; Marc Veasey, D-Dallas; Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas; and Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, signed on to the letter.
Congressional leaders stand at a stalemate over the funding of Obamacare, keeping the government lights off for two weeks and counting. About 140,000 Texas federal employees are furloughed. Paychecks for more than 180,000 Texas members of the military will be delayed, according to the letter.
Some House Republicans are reportedly working on a six-week extension of federal borrowing but still want to make significant changes to the health care law.
“I am hopeful over the next few days we can reach agreements to fund the government, stop this disasterous health care law and begin to dig ourselves out from under a mountain of debt,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, wrote in a letter to constituents.
Gallego said his office talked about reaching out to Texas Republicans, but there is “a lot of hesitation on their part to join.”
The Medill News Service is a content partner of The Texas Tribune and is providing reports from Washington, D.C.