VIDEO: Bennet and Udall scrap to keep government up and running

Colorado’s two Democratic senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet each continue working to avert a government shutdown.

In comments made Thursday night on the floor of the Senate, Bennet said the argument raging in the House right now is the equivalent of two people fighting over who pays the last 4 cents on a $20 restaurant tab.

“People are tired of the gimmicks and the tricks,” he said. He said constituents tell him that everyone is in this together and that everyone should compromise and sacrifice in order to pass a budget and keep the government running. “The want it to be bipartisan because they don’t have confidence in either party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Udall’s office informed reporters this morning that Udall had introduced legislation to prevent the government from ever being shut down.

Udall’s office released this statement:

Things are moving fast in the Senate right now, but here is a quick update: Mark Udall is meeting with Senate Democrats in the next hour to gather support and push for a vote today on his bill to prevent a government shutdown. The “Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011” would prevent either party from ever holding the American people hostage over political infighting again. Mark’s bill would simply ensure that federal appropriations continue at flatline funding levels as a bridge to keep the government running until a compromise can be reached for the remainder of the fiscal year. Once Congress is able to reach an agreement to fund the government, this automatic funding would stop and be replaced by the enacted bill.

Udahll said there are more than 53,000 federal employees in Colorado – and 800,000 nationwide, most of whom could be out of work tomorrow.

“Coloradans are incredulous as we fight over what amounts to 1 percent of the budget and some politically motivated policy riders,” Udall said in a press release. “Congress is playing chicken, trying to see which side of the aisle will flinch first – but when neither side yields, it’s the American people who ultimately suffer the worst outcome. At this eleventh hour, we need to remember we’ve been elected to serve, not to compete for a pot of fool’s gold that makes our constituents poorer in the long run.

“The House and the Senate can pass my bill today and prevent a government shutdown,” Udall continued. “And it would prevent either party from ever holding the American people hostage over political infighting. This is the right thing to do, and I’m urging my colleagues in both parties and both houses of Congress to pass it.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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