WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin took to answering phones late Thursday morning from residents upset for the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Manchin said during a Wednesday floor speech he is “embarrassed” and “ashamed” of Congress.
“Shutting down the government is simply unacceptable,” said Manchin. “I’ve got too many people (in West Virginia) that need the services of government. I’ve got too many people that depend on it.”
As of late Thursday morning, there had been no movement from Congress on a resolution to end the first such shutdown in 17 years. That last shutdown lasted 21 days.
Since Tuesday, House Republicans have proposed piecemeal funding bills to pay for some services until there is a shutdown solution, but Senate Democrats and the White House have opposed that.
President Barack Obama had called Congressional leaders to the White House for a Wednesday afternoon meeting. He was reportedly urging the House to pass a stopgap funding bill to re-open the government.
Obama is also asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling weeks ahead of an Oct. 17 deadline.
Manchin said Congress can help itself out of the mess.
“This is self-inflicted. This didn’t happen by any outside forces. This has all been self-inflicted,” he said. “It not only hurts the people of West Virginia deeply, it hurts people all over this country and they’re feeling effects. This is only the second day, but it’s two days too long.”
House Republicans have continued to push for changes to the Affordable Care Act as conditions of passage of bills dealing with federal spending and raising the debt limit.
Manchin said some parts of the healthcare law need reformed, repaired or repealed. However, he said, “I do not believe we should hold our government hostage while we work through the health care law.”