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Torres Small co-sponsors bill to end shutdowns

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A bill to end federal government shutdowns has won the backing of Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM.

Torres Small — whose New Mexico 2nd Congressional District includes Chaves County — announced in a press release Tuesday she is joining 20 other freshman House Democrats to co-sponsor the Shutdown to End All Shutdowns (SEAS) Act.

The SEAS Act introduced by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Penn, would — in the event of a funding lapse — trigger a 30-day continuing resolution that would keep the federal government funded and prevent federal employees from being furloughed or forced to work without pay, according to a press release.

Travel expenses and pay for members of Congress and executive branch employees would also be withheld until the impasse over funding is resolved.

The deal would also provide back pay to federal employees affected by the shutdown.

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Torres Small said New Mexico was one of the states hardest hit by the recent 35-day funding impasse that left 25 percent of government agencies shuttered.

“I saw firsthand the damage and disruption the shutdown did to our local communities,” Torres Small said in the press release. “We were elected to restore trust in Congress and this legislation will hold the government accountable for its actions.”

The recent partial government shutdown was triggered Dec. 22, after President Donald Trump refused to sign a spending bill for several government agencies unless it included $5.7 billion that would fund the construction of a wall along the southern border.

During the partial shutdown, 800,000 federal government employees were either furloughed or forced to work without pay. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the shutdown cost the federal government $3 billion.

Trump agreed to sign a three-week stop-gap measure Jan. 25 that would keep the government funded, while members of congress work out a compromise on border security that Trump will sign.

If Congress fails to craft a measure by Feb. 15, Trump has said has left the option open to either shut the government down again or declare a national emergency, which would allow Trump to shift funds from military projects.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301,or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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