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As conversations continue over the government shutdown and raising of the nation’s debt ceiling, the congressman who represents Oldham County says the process is to blame for these events.
Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie represents Kentucky’s 4th District, which spans from Oldham County north to the state border and east to Lewis County.
Speaking with reporters last week, Massie criticized the way Congress is using continuing resolutions that lump everything together, instead of 12 separate budget bills, to fund the government.
“It’s not very efficient,” Massie said. “It’s not the way you want to finance your government.”
Congress has been locked into a shutdown of government spending for more than two weeks as Democrats and Republicans have argued over spending money on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Massie had been optimistic a deal was being struck on the debt ceiling, which government officials say needs to be raised by today, last week. But as of the Era’s press deadline, no such deal has been reached on either the debt ceiling or the government shutdown although conversations between Congressional leaders were on-going.
Massie, a tea party Republican elected in 2012, said he’s also in the camp that doesn’t believe the U.S. won’t pay its bills if it reaches the debt ceiling.
“It’s just a condition where expenditures can’t exceed revenue,” Massie said.
He added that Moody’s, a well-known credit company, also had skepticism about the debt ceiling default.
As Congressional leaders wrestle over different plans to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government, Massie said he would rather return to passing 12 appropriation bills a year, as the House used to do in the appropriations process.
He offered two ways to compromise in his opinion: to fund bits and pieces of the government in various appropriations bills or to fund the government a week at a time.
During the shutdown, Massie is foregoing his pay, he said, and requiring his staff to work without pay.
Massie said in order for him to vote for a debt ceiling increase, he would like to see budget cuts to get the U.S. budget balanced within four years.
But he also said he’s keeping his options open in terms of what bills he may vote for in terms of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate.
“I don’t want to paint myself into a box,” he said.
UPDATE OCT. 17 9 a.m.
A deal was struck to both re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling late Wednesday night, after the Era's press deadline. Congressman Massie voted against the bill.