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U.S. Congressman Pete Gallego addresses government shutdown concerns in townhall

Mar. 5 2013 (Lance Cheung/USDA)

No one knows when the government shutdown will end and many people are worried about their livelihoods and benefits. U.S. Congressman Pete Gallego represents Texas’ 23 district, which includes Alpine, El Paso, Marfa and San Antonio. He recently authored a bill which would withhold pay for members of Congress during a government shutdown. Gallego held a virtual town hall to discuss the government shutdown on Thursday.

During the 45 minute teleconference, the freshmen congressman made clear his disdain for those he felt were behind the impasse.

“You know Congress’s only job really, under the Constitution, is to fund the government and if it can’t do that basic constitutional responsibility – that’s pretty sad” said Gallego.

When the congressman was asked who was at fault for the shutdown, Gallego – a Democrat – pointed his finger across the aisle. He said the Tea Party members of the Republican Party were driving this effort. Gallego also said that he didn’t believe House Speaker John Boehner wanted to cause a government shutdown because of fight over the President’s Affordable Care Act.

Gallago also fielded questions from citizens in the Big Bend about the possible impact of the shutdown. Many callers expressed frustration with the current state of government affairs while others were worried that the government shutdown would negatively affect furloughed workers.

Gallago explained that in previous government shutdowns the Congress had voted to retroactively pay furloughed workers for the hours they missed. He urged ordinary citizens to put pressure on their representatives to find a resolution.