While the government shutdown was resolved earlier this month, Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) said there’s still a lot of work to be done on Capital Hill to create a long-term budget that works for the economy.
“As a result of the deal that was made to bring us out of the government shutdown, we are now beginning real negotiations on the budget for the first time,” explained Coons who serves on the Senate Budget Committee. “We have a very short window in which to make significant progress. We have to report by Dec. 13th. My hope is that we will, that we will find a responsive balanced way to replace the across the board sequester cuts that have done so much damage to our defense and non-defense programs for education, for research, for infrastructure. And that we’ll find a responsible path forward.”
And that’s just step one. If they’re successful, Sen. Coons said they’ll spend Dec. 15-Jan. 15 building a new set of appropriations bills for all of the different federal agencies.
“If we continue to have partisan squabbles that divide us, we’ll continue, I think, to disappoint the American people,” said Coons. “I get clear direction from Delawareans every day, they want us to work together, they want us to compromise, and they want us to invest in growing the economy.”
He said the other issue Delaware’s want figured out is the “kinks” in the healthcare.gov website, which was supposed to give millions of Americans access to new health insurance policies beginning Oct. 1.
“As Americans are beginning to enroll in the exchanges across the country, as my family is about to enroll in the exchange to get our health care for next year, we need to make sure that folks are able to get on the website or able to get access either by phone or by mail to a predicable, clear and fair process,” said Coons. “I’m joining other senators in communicating to the president our concern about this and our instance that the administration does everything they possibly can to resolve the issues with the website quickly.
On Monday, Delaware resident Janice Baker met President Barack Obama at the White House where she shared her difficult experience of purchasing insurance through the program.
Baker had to go through a seven hour process but said the plan will save her money and provide her with better coverage.
Many others have tried unsuccessfully to enroll and Sen. Coons said if the issues aren’t resolved in a timely manner he’ll push to delay the open enrollment window as well as the penalties imposed for those who didn’t sign up.