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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Signs Petition to Reopen Government

Oct 12, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Twelve days into the GOP-induced government shutdown that has furloughed Wisconsin workers, threatened the food security of 113,000 Wisconsin women and children, and stalled business for Wisconsin companies, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) took action today to force a vote to reopen the government. Pocan joined his colleagues in signing a discharge petition that would bypass Speaker Boehner and force the House to vote on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, which has already been passed by the Senate and according to reports would pass the House. Thus far Speaker Boehner has refused to allow a vote on the legislation, even though it would allow the government to reopen right now.

“We shouldn’t have to force a vote to reopen the government, but unfortunately the Tea Party-controlled Republicans continue to be more interested in stomping their feet and holding their breath than doing their jobs,” Pocan said. “Furloughed workers in Wisconsin and small business owners don’t have time to wait for Speaker Boehner to find the courage to stand up to the extreme wings of his party. We need to reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling and then sit down to negotiate a comprehensive, balanced and long-term budget. And we need to do it right now.” 

A discharge petition requires the House to consider a piece of legislation once a majority of Members of Congress have signed it. Seven discharge petitions have received 218 signatures over the last 30 years.

Here are some of the ways the shutdown is hurting middle class families and small businesses in south central Wisconsin:

  • The Wisconsin National  Guard is unable to perform its monthly trainings,  impacting both Guard readiness and the monthly incomes for Guard members (WEAU)
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is not processing new loans—Last year, the SBA approved more than $83 million in loans in the second district  (SBA)
  • 85,000 Wisconsinites will lose their food stamps starting November 2nd if the federal government shutdown lasts till Oct. 17th; an additional 85,000 people will lose their benefits each subsequent day the government is shutdown (MJS)
  • If the shutdown continues until the end of the month, the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) that provides nutrition support for mothers and children  will run out of money. About 113,000 Wisconsinites participate in the WIC program every month.  (AP)
  • The shutdown effects federal financial aid, funding for academic research and Veterans Administration benefits to student at UW-Madison and throughout the UW-System. UW-Madison has received more than a dozen stop-work orders from federal agencies such as the National Institutes for Health and National Park Service for work being done by about 90 UW-Madison employees for those agencies. (MJS)
  • Approximately 15,000 federal employees work in Wisconsin; hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed across the country