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On Senate Floor, Kaine Outlines Consequences Of Shutdown, Calls For Compromise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine warned against the harmful consequences of a government shutdown and urged his colleagues to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government.

“The consequences of shutdown are severe,” Kaine said. “Our active-duty military are required to stay on duty but…Their paychecks get delayed. They and their families don't deserve that treatment. Many civilians working in our military -- army nurses, for example – might get furloughed and not paid. Cyber security professionals, aviation mechanics, nurses.…They will not be able to do the work that the nation needs them to do. And private businesses, like the Newport News Shipyard, the manufacturers of the most sophisticated manufactured items on earth, find their contracts are put in question and their employees are, therefore, put at risk. A shutdown is a huge blow to our economy and jobs.”

Highlighting an exchange he had with Senator Ted Cruz on the Senate floor last night, Kaine called on members of Congress who oppose the Affordable Care Act to introduce legislation that would reform and improve it, rather than creating yet another budget crisis by threatening to shut down the American government if the law is not defunded.  

“The Senator from Texas and every legislator has the ability to raise whatever reforms or whatever funding or defunding ideas they want in these ways: make your case, argue your position, try to convince your colleagues, and then accept the outcome. But…do not threaten to shut down the government of the United States if you don't get your way,” said Kaine.

Kaine also outlined his reasons for supporting the Affordable Care Act, which has already benefitted millions of Virginians, but stressed his willingness to consider reforms and improvements to the legislation.

“We should be open to reform and improvement of the Affordable Care Act or any other part of our health care system,” said Kaine. “I oppose those who want to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act, because repealing or defunding would mean that millions of Americans who will be able to access affordable care through health insurance exchanges will lose that ability, that nearly 7 million young adults would lose coverage they have been able to gain through their family's insurance policies, and this is a personal one to me -- I've experienced this in my family -- that people with a health history will once again be free to be turned away by insurance companies because they have a preexisting health condition.”

In closing, Kaine said, “Let’s talk about reform. Let’s talk about improvements. Let’s do it the right way, not the wrong way. Let’s separate those discussions out from all the threats of shutdown or default. And if we’re willing to do that, I think we’ll be able to get somewhere.”

Since taking office, Kaine has consistently called for an end to budgeting-by-crisis and a return to normal budget order.