The Senator delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor.
As prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, it now, unfortunately, seems likely that the federal government will shutdown at midnight tonight. It didn’t have to be this way.
I was very disappointed to read accounts of some of our colleagues in the other chamber literally applauding when they were told a shutdown was coming.
Well the people of New Hampshire aren’t applauding this, Mr. President. They don’t want a shutdown. Because they know a shutdown is bad for the economy.
Let me start by going over what’s going to happen to the economy in New Hampshire if the government shuts down.
I’ve spoken before, Mr. President, about companies in my state like Velcro USA. We all know what Velcro is, and I’m proud to say it’s produced in New Hampshire. The United States military is a major customer of the company, because Velcro is used in soldiers’ uniforms and equipment. Normally the government is a steady customer. But Velcro has already been waiting for months for the government to pass a full year funding bill. A shutdown will mean increased uncertainty for the company, and for the hundreds of employees who work there.
Another company in my state, an innovative high-tech small company, has said that even the smallest shutdown will have dire effects. They said they will lose 95 percent of their revenue in a shutdown. This is a small business with a lot of growth potential. It’s exactly the kind of innovative company that will keep America’s economy competitive. They had plans to hire 16 people this year. That will be put on hold.
The housing market is a particularly fragile and slow –to-recover segment of our economy. In New Hampshire, foreclosure rates are down 12 percent from a year ago, but are still at historic highs. FHA home loan guarantees have been crucial. But all of that would stop in a shutdown. No new FHA loans could be approved. If you have a closing scheduled, if you’re trying to buy a foreclosed home with FHA help, the deal is off, or at least on hold. With all the problems that the housing crisis has caused, we should not be hamstringing one of the most effective government programs we have for assisting homeowners.
A shutdown would also close the Small Business Administration’s lending problems, and we all know working capital is still a problem for small business.
There are also 7,400 federal workers in the state. That makes the federal government one of New Hampshire’s largest employers. They don’t know when paychecks will start again, and they don’t know if they’ll get any of their back pay. Their salary isn’t just important for themselves and their families. These 7,400 hard-working New Hampshire citizens are critical to their local economy. When their pay stops, they stop making mortgage payments, stop paying utility bills, and stop patronizing local stores.
Now, these are just the effects of a shutdown on the economy in New Hampshire. And New Hampshire is a small state. Multiply those effects across our entire nation, and this shutdown carries the real risk of undermining the economic recovery.
And why is this happening? We have an agreement on how much to cut spending. This is happening because a small minority in Congress wants to use the budget to prevent women from having access to family planning and other reproductive health care services.