Mass. Delegation Sends Letter to House Speaker Boehner

Members of the House are asking him to find a "clean concurrent" resolution to end the government shutdown.

As talks continue in Washington D.C., to hash out both a budget proposal and reverse the government shutdown, delegates from Massachusetts sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, encouraging him to “ bring to the House floor a clean concurrent resolution” to end the halt on federal funding.

“We are all hearing the daily reports of horror stories that result from the shutdown of the federal government. These stories, and the negative impact on the lives of the people we represent, will only continue to grow in number and severity as the government shutdown continues,” the letter said, which was signed by all eight members from Massachusetts elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

While some negative impacts have already been felt in the Bay State, including national parks and tourist attractions being shut off to the public, and funding for those in need of housing and tuition assistance being cut off, state officials fear it will get even worse.

President Barack Obama and House Republicans met yesterday to negotiate on both the government shutdown, and the looming debt limit, which expires on October 17. Obama refused to come to terms with a Republican proposal to raise the debt ceiling without also ending the stoppage on federal funding. “The President’s goal remains to ensure we pay the bills we’ve incurred, reopen the government, and get back to the business of growing the economy, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class,” according to a press release from the White House, sent out after budget talks and attempts at negotiations Thursday night.

Prior to the letter being sent to Boehner by Massachusetts delegates, one of Governor Deval Patrick’s top officials warned of “dire consequences” statewide, claiming that as November 1 nears, thousands of state employees will be facing furloughs or layoffs, and dozens of programs for low-income families, seniors, and veterans will soon run out of funding, according to a State House News Service report.

State Undersecretary of Housing and Economic Development Aaron Gornstein, during a Boston Foundation forum on housing issues, said if the shutdown continues into the start of next month, the state will not be able to cover the costs of  heating assistance for 200,000 households, won’t be able to make rent payments for 20,000 low-income households, and 35 home projects with 1,500 units of affordable housing will be delayed. He called November 1, the “turning point” in the government shutdown for resident of Massachusetts.

Gornstein’s plea took a similar tone to the state’s Democrats in Congress, in the letter sent to Boehner later in the day. “We believe that passing a clean concurrent resolution on the budget and raising the debt limit in a responsible manner, we can get back to legislating and making the tough choices that we were all elected to make in the United States Congress,” the letter said.

Talks about the debt limit and the government shutdown are expected to resume Friday, but so far there is no end in sight.