U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson voted in favor of the measure late Wednesday that ended the 16-day government shutdown and averted a potential financial disaster.
The congressman from Howard Township was among the 87 Republicans in the House whose approval moved the deal to the desk of President Barack Obama for his signature. Thompson said he was glad to see the government reopen and hoped the bipartisan bill would be a sign of things to come.
“I never thought that shutting the government down was something that should happen and certainly didn’t think we should not meet our debt obligations,” Thompson said in a phone interview from Washington after the deal passed. “This bill tonight addressed that. It ended the shutdown and avoided any compromise for our ability to pay our bills.”
As a whole, the package does not include as many reforms that Thompson hoped to see, but most importantly, he said, the bill kept the country from running out of money and damaging the economy.
“This is a debate that should have been resolved months ago,” Thompson said Wednesday afternoon when word of a deal was in the air but before Congress voted. “Certainly, it’s time for the politics to stop and all sides to come together and protect our economy.”
Thompson said one of the most important components of the bipartisan deal is how lawmakers will have to handle the next deadline to raise the debt limit, Feb. 7. Thompson said lawmakers cannot avoid taking action on it.
“Giving it consideration would be required,” he said.
The bill to reopen the federal government says that lawmakers have a deadline of Dec. 13 to have a long-term plan for tax and spending policies over the next decade. Thompson doubts he will be one of the lawmakers appointed to participate in those discussions because he has a similar duty regarding the federal farm bill.
The shutdown started as Republicans sought to defund the president’s Affordable Care Act.
Thompson, who criticized Senate leadership for not wanting to negotiate funding the government, supported several bills that would fund specific parts of governmental operations. And while the Affordable Care Act won’t see cuts as House Republicans had wanted, Thompson predicted the debate over the new health care law will continue.
“We’re going to be talking about the Affordable Care Act for a very long time,” he said.