UPDATE #2: The over two week-old shutdown of the federal government and accompanying debt ceiling crisis ends, for a couple of months anyway, as FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:
In the end, all but one member of the Colorado congressional delegation voted in support of the legislation to re-open the government and avoid a potentially catastrophic default on the nation’s debts, which passed both the House and Senate Wednesday night.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, voted against the legislation, which passed the House on a vote of 285-144, with nearly all Democrats and roughly half of the House Republicans voting yes.
You'll recall that Lamborn had allegedly given up the fight well over a week ago, but with passage assured, it looks like he took the safe-seat opportunity to cast a protest vote. No doubt the 18,000 federal employees in his district appreciate his conviction. And please try to be understanding next time Lamborn's district catches fire.
Having voted to reopen the shuttered federal government and extend the debt limit, with only the most token of concessions compared to their original strident demands to "delay or defund" the Affordable Care Act, we'll leave our readers to debate the extent of the GOP's failure tonight. We'd say somewhere between epic and total.
UPDATE: Sen. Mark Udall's statement a short while ago:
Mark Udall welcomed the passage today of a bipartisan deal to avert a destructive government default and end the ongoing federal government shutdown, which has hurt Colorado communities, Main Street businesses and middle class families for more than two weeks. The bipartisan agreement includes a Udall-championed provision to help Colorado rebuild flood-ravaged roads, bridges and highways.
"One of Congress's top duties is to support job creation, strengthen our nation's economy and help middle-class families thrive. But for several weeks, an extreme faction of one political party in one house of Congress manufactured a crisis and held our economic recovery hostage," Udall said. "It comes as no surprise that Coloradans overwhelmingly have rejected this extremist brinksmanship and instead implored members of Congress to collaborate on a bipartisan path forward. I’m proud that this bipartisan agreement finally will reopen our federal government, avoid a default on our nation's obligations, and deliver much-needed aid to Colorado's flood-ravaged communities — a provision I fought for."
"In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address issues that I've pushed for years: reducing our nation's debt, passing immigration reform and a farm bill, putting in place more sustainable energy policies and making the federal government more accountable to taxpayers. But we must responsibly tackle these issues in inclusive ways that reject brinksmanship and political games."
9NEWS' Raju Chebium:
A Senate deal aimed at ending the partial government shutdown and averting a debt default includes a nice chunk of change – $450 million – to help Colorado fully recover from the recent floods.
Aides to Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet say the Democratic lawmakers worked to include language in the deal to lift the $100 million annual limit on emergency highway funds Uncle Sam is allowed to provide to help states recover from natural disasters…
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the deal later today but the House's plans are unclear.
9NEWS omits this detail, but this is the same money that the entire Colorado delegation sought prior to the shutdown in the wake of last month's devastating Front Range floods. You'll recall that officials from both parties, including New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie, hammered Colorado Republicans for their "hypocrisy" (Christie's term) in seeking these funds after voting against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy in January. The Washington Post reported that New Jersey Sen. Jeff Chiesa blocked the funds until given assurances that they would not be paid from the Hurricane Sandy relief money Colorado Republicans voted against–which they originally would have been. Local officials will be greatly relieved to see these funds fast-tracked as part of the deal to reopen the government, as opposed to waiting for another vote down the road.
There is still a chance, of course, that some or all of our Colorado House Republicans will vote against the Senate's bill to end the shutdown. The deal isn't expected to garner much conservative support, and will likely pass the House with the support of Democrats.
Given everything that's happened, we would strongly recommend Colorado Republicans swallow their ideological pride (or shame as the case may be) and vote yes. And then apologize to New Jersey.