Alaska congressional delegation reacts to government shutdown

 Alaska Congressional Delegaton
Alaska Congressional Delegaton (KTUU)
Published: Jan. 19, 2018 at 10:51 PM AKST
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Both of Alaska's U.S. senators voted in favor of the the short-term spending bill that would have prevented a government shutdown, and both of them expressed frustration with the outcome of Friday night's heated debate and eventual defeat of the measure.

"Tonight, we saw a manufactured crisis officially turn into a government shutdown – something that was absolutely preventable" said Sen. Sullivan (R-Alaska) in a press release late Friday night.

"Shutting down the government is no way to govern" said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in a written statement.

Both Sullivan and Murkowski expressed concern over the impact the government shutdown will have on Alaskans.

"It is disruptive, harmful, wasteful, and impacts the thousands of Alaskans who are federal employees, contractors and all who rely on the services provided by our federal agencies” said Murkowski.

"Passage of the Continue Resolution tonight would have continued the essential functions of government, provided critical funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for thousands of Alaskan children, and given Congress an opportunity to address a long term spending measure" said Sullivan, adding "The bipartisan bill we considered tonight, which funded the government until February 16th, was voted down not for the items it contained, but for what was not included – a long term agreement on immigration for which we still have weeks to resolve."

Murkowski and Sullivan said they stand ready to try to reach an agreement to end the shutdown as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Congressman Don Young also voiced frustration with the stalemate.

"Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is putting his political party above what’s best for our country. That is neither the way to govern nor the job he was elected to do," Young wrote in a statement. "By trying to tack on an immigration reform measure to this Continuing Resolution (CR), he is abandoning the legislative process which Congress has a responsibility to defend."

Rep. Young also expressed concern for the impact that the government shutdown will have on Alaska and the nation.

"Shutting down the government is incredibly irresponsible and a misguided strategy," Young said. "By voting against this bill, Senate Democrats deliberately chose to deny funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), our military, and the thousands of Americans that rely on the federal government functioning properly."