By Wendy Osher
Senate leaders today reached a proposed deal to prevent a default on the nation’s loans, with the hopes of reopening the federal government, which has been partially closed for 16 days now.
Under the proposed deal, government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised through Feb. 7.
The item must still gain the approval of the US House.
US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaiʻi joined a bipartisan group in voting for the deal today saying, “This shutdown caused terrible, unnecessary pain for Hawaiʻi families, and we are all relieved that it is nearly over. It’s time for Congress to get back to work, and focus on helping the middle class.”
In a statement released today, Sen. Schatz continued saying, “We’ve got lots of work to do and simply re-opening the government and preventing default are not legislative achievements – this is the bare minimum to keep the country running. Now we need to move quickly and aggressively on to our major national issues – economic recovery, clean energy growth, immigration reform, and college affordability.”
“This has been a waste of time that has hurt the American people and threatened our country’s reputation. Let’s get back to work,” he said.
Late last week, Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui, who was serving as acting governor, announced a temporary hiring freeze on vacant positions in the Executive Branch for Hawaiʻi, saying it is necessary to conserve dwindling financial resources in light of the ongoing federal shutdown and upcoming debt ceiling deadline.
Governor Neil Abercrombie arrived in Washington, DC, today where he was scheduled to work with Hawaiʻi’s Congressional Delegation and former colleagues, in the hopes of securing continued support for federally-funded services and programs.
Governor Abercrombie’s schedule includes meetings with Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono today, followed by meetings with Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday.
Prior to his departure, Governor Abercrombie spoke with each of the four mayors regarding concerns about federally funded programs and employee positions in their respective counties. State officials say the input provided will be included in discussions in Washington.
Governor Abercrombie is expected to return to the state on Oct. 20.