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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Nelson: Florida should be afraid of shutdown



nelson.jpgFlorida Sen. Bill Nelson is holding a conference call with reporters now and enumerating various ways Florida could be affected by a shutdown. The Democrat said people would not be able to get government-backed mortgages, small business loans and tax refunds.

He said the state's export business would also be hobbled and raised the possibility of the upcoming space shuttle launch -- featuring Rep. Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly -- could be delayed if enough workers are furloughed.

"You see over and over, and I’ve only scratch the surface, the profound implications of a government shutdown, all because of extremist ideology," Nelson said, referring to Republican plans to attach a "rider" to the budget stripping funding for Planned Parenthood and other health care providers to women. "This is not the way to run a railroad."

Nelson said lawmakers have the ability to come together and have a reasonable debate and compromise. "It's when the extremist position goes over into the corner and pouts and says 'It's my way or the highway' that you can't get anything done. And sadly, that's what it's come down to."

But Democrats could have avoided this fight had they passed a budget last year, when they controlled the House and Senate. Asked if his party holds any responsibility for the looming shutdown, Nelson said, "This shouldn't be a time of pointing fingers at each other; this is a time to get something done."

He said he tried "over and over' to get people to pass "reasonable kinds of things." So did the leadership of your party let you down? "It is what is. We are where we are and we've got to find a solution to get out of it." A little while later, he added: "Yes, the entire Congress has a responsibility. But we are at the bewitching hour and we have to get consensus."

Audio of the conference call here.

[Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 5:48pm]


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