Local lawmakers talk government shutdown - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Local lawmakers talk government shutdown


ALBANY, N.Y. - Lawmakers are still aruging over Obamacare six days into the government shutdown.

Democrats in the House and Senate are calling for a clean bill to reopen government, but Republicans are demanding a repeal.

"They have taken a three-year-old law, attempted to repeal it. It's never been done," said Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko.

Republican Congressman Chris Gibson proposes repealing the medical device tax, which he says will significantly hurt jobs in upstate New York.

"We have over 5,000 jobs in the viewership of your TV channel that are in the medical device industry, so we work together in a bipartisan way to bring this proposal forward," he said.

Senator Charles Schumer says Republican demands are holding negotiations hostage.

"We could do the same thing on immigration," he said. "We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, we're shutting down the government, we're not going to raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform. It would be governmental chaos."

Tonko says the economy is losing $300 million a day due to the shutdown, and Schumer says the impact could be devastating.

"Banks' balance sheets get all out of whack. People stop lending. Interest rates go up. Lines of credit freeze. And you risk a depression," he said.

The House did pass a bill Saturday allowing back pay to federal employees on furlough. It also passed several other bills that would fund National parks, the National Guard and cancer research.

"All of these bipartisan bills could be enacted now if the Senate passes them and the President signs them," Gibson said. "There's no reason why these parts of the government should be shut down with such bipartisan support for action now."

Last week Congress passed a bill that President Obama signed ensuring that uniformed members of the military will not have their paychecks delayed by the shutdown. The Pentagon says it will recall nearly 350,000 furloughed civilian workers in the next few days.

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