Florida leaders react to debt-ceiling deal


WASHINGTON – Florida leaders are speaking out after the House of Representatives passed a Senate-brokered bill late Wednesday night to fully reopen the government and raise the federal government's debt ceiling.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) made the following comment on the debt deal to end the government shutdown and avoid default:

"Thank goodness, not just for the thousands and thousands of Americans who have been hurting because of the disruption in government services, but thank goodness for our nation's economic well-being.

"I'm relieved about this shutdown being over and certainly relieved that we have avoided a default of the financial integrity of this country, but this never should have happened in the first place. A couple of senators and a handful of House extremists have managed to embarrass America in front of the world.

"And with this government shutdown and coming right to the precipice on a default, they showed a lack of compassion but they also showed a lack of understanding about what it means to be a public official and what it means to represent and serve the interests of all, not just a few.

"A public office is a public trust. And no public servant should ever deny government services to people in need. No public servant should ever take his own country hostage to advance his own narrow, selfish ideology.

"So for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief. But this is going to crank up again, starting in December, January and February – the deadlines of this agreement. We just can't keep continuing putting our country in situations like this. We've got to find a way, right soon, to govern ourselves without being at the mercy of a few partisan extremists. Congress has a responsibility to cast aside extremism and reach out to find common ground, reason and common sense. We owe no less to our people in this country."

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) released the following statement after the House voted to extend the continuing resolution at current funding levels:

"Tonight's vote will reopen the government and keep spending numbers at current levels until January 15, 2014, giving Congress the opportunity to properly finish the appropriations process and maintain the sequester savings. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact meaningful long term reforms that truly address our spending and debt crises."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement:

"I'm relieved that the U.S. Senate worked together in a bipartisan manner to make it possible for us to reopen the government to serve all the American people and prevent a default on our debt.

"After 16 days of a government shutdown, at long last we figured out a way to put partisan politics aside in order to fund our government and pay our bills so that we can protect the full faith and credit of the United States.

"Looking ahead, it's critical that we continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to replace the indiscriminate cuts of the sequester with a balanced plan. We must come together at the negotiating table to work out further compromise. That is what the American people elected us to do, and they are counting on us to do our jobs and figure out ways to make their lives better – so they can buy a house, send their kids to college, save for retirement, and count on a thriving and job-producing economy. This is our most basic responsibility so we can ensure the continued prosperity of the American people and our nation."

Congressman Ted Deutch released the following statement Wednesday night:

"Tonight, Congress may have prevented the United States from defaulting on its credit for the first time in history and brought an end to a reckless government shutdown, but to call this last-minute deal a victory for the American people would be shameful. Narrowly preventing a global financial crisis is nothing to be proud of, nor is there anything extraordinary about letting federal employees of the most powerful nation on earth do their jobs.

"For over two weeks, a small group of Republican extremists have led our nation through a pointless and irresponsible exercise that in the end left us with billions of dollars in lost economic output and diminished credibility worldwide. We should be working on reasonable solutions that actually address the American people's economic priorities, from fixing our broken immigration system to growing middle class paychecks to ending tax-havens that reward corporations for moving offshore. Unfortunately, these and so many more of the American people's priorities go unanswered when commonsense is abandoned and a reckless few can turn a divided Congress into a dysfunctional Congress."

The Office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel said Frankel voted Wednesday night to reopen the government:

"I joined my colleagues to take the responsible action of re-opening the federal government and make sure America pays its bills. The vote tonight will allow patriotic Americans to get back to work and veterans and seniors to receive their Social Security and other benefits in a timely manner," Frankel said. "Now it's time to focus on long-term solutions that create jobs with fiscally sound budget decisions that reduce waste and invest in infrastructure and education."