Coons: Gov't shutdown could go on for weeks

By Amy Cherry 12:00pm, October 2, 2013 - Updated 12:40pm, October 2, 2013
Day 2 of the government shutdown and there's no end in sight.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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Senator Coons tells WDEL he's afraid the government shutdown could last for weeks.

"My concern is that this will grind on for weeks because we've got such a deep impasse," says Coons.

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Coons explains the impasse is between Democrats and a small group of House Republicans who don't like the Affordable Care Act even though it's already the law of the land.

"There's a small group of extremists who have really taken control of the House of Representatives. Speaker Boehner could end this anytime he wants by just allowing the full House to vote and restore the government," says Coons.

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If the shutdown persists, we could come dangerously close to the debt ceiling deadline, and Coons says if we default on our debt it would be a "disaster." He says the cost of borrowing to pay for vital national services from national security to social security would go up dramatically.

"So we'd be in an even deeper hole. Rule number one of holes: stop digging. By shutting down the government, a number of folks in the House have irresponsibly dug us deeper into a hole," Coons says.

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Coons says the President is right by not accepting Republicans' proposal to restore some government services, but not others.

"That's just a slow bleed, that's a way to extend the negative impact on our economy, our country, on millions of families of having shutdown the entire federal government," he says.

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Some economists say the U.S. economy is losing $10 billion per week if the government shutdown continues. Delaware has already begun feeling the effects.

"It is as frustrating as it is embarrassing, and I'm hearing from lots of Delawareans who are angry, who are upset that it's affecting them and their families, that they're not able to get support," he says.

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He points to the hard-hit Dove Air Force Base, where 500 civilian employees have been essentially rendered, "unemployed," along with 350 soldiers and airmen from the Delaware National Guard.

"Folks who work at the Dover Air Force Base, who already suffered six weeks of a 20 percent pay cut during a furlough at the end of August, are now seeing a renewed hit on their family finances," Coons says.

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Coons tells WDEL he's returning his paycheck because he doesn't think Congress should be paid while hundreds of thousands of Americans are not.

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