W.Va. party leaders weigh in on budget

PARKERSBURG – The leaders of the state Republican and Democratic parties as well as party officials in Wood County believe that restarting the government and ending the shutdown were in the best interest of the country.

Now work needs to begin to eliminate wasteful spending, balance the budget and strengthen the economy, they added.

The state party officials issued statements that mirrored what national leaders have said over the last few weeks, placing blame at the feet of the opposing party.

Following the House of Representatives vote for the plan to reopen government and lift the debt ceiling, Chairman of the Democratic Party of West Virginia Larry Puccio said the country narrowly avoided a crisis that could have done irreparable harm to the nation’s economy.

“I’m pleased that after weeks of putting the Republican Party ahead of West Virginians, (U.S. Rep.) Shelley Moore Capito has finally gotten permission from her leadership to do the right thing for our state,” Puccio said.

“Shelley Moore Capito is constantly talking about uncertainty and how bad it is for business. Well, let me say this: governing by crisis and holding the basic functions of government hostage is no way to provide certainty for our businesses and stability for our economy,” Puccio said.

“We commend Senator Manchin for his leadership in crafting legislation that brought the nation back from the brink of default. He, Senator Rockefeller and Rep. Rahall have put the interest of ordinary West Virginians first throughout this whole crisis,” Puccio said.

Republicans see the best way forward is to win the upcoming elections for congressional seats, and eventually the White House.

“Today is a valuable lesson on the importance of future elections for the Republican Party,” said West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas. “In Congress, we have the ability to slow the runaway train filled with bad law and more debt.

“But until we take the Senate and the White House back, we cannot reverse the damage done to this state and nation by President Obama and his liberal team. The business of this nation must continue. It is our job to arm the voters and our leaders with the tools to take Washington, D.C. back for the people in 2014 and 2016.”

Wood County Republican Party Chairman Greg Smith said the shutdown has brought a lot of attention on how large the budget deficit is and the fact Congress has not passed a budget in five years.

“This is why we have gone into crisis mode every three, six and 12 months,” he said.

With the deal worked out, Smith believes national lawmakers are just postponing problems that were brought up in debates and discussions over the last couple of weeks; lawmakers have decided to just “kick the can down the road,” he said.

“The same thing will happen again in January,” Smith said of many of the same issues coming back up again and the potential for another shutdown.

Smith was aggravated by the infighting within the party on display nationally, but admits it could be good for the party in the long run as the party determines the best direction to take for the future.

This crisis has brought attention to Republican stances on wanting smaller government and lower taxes.

“More people have become aware that we have $17 trillion in debt with another $71 trillion-$95 trillion in unfunded liabilities that will have to be dealt with over the next few years,” Smith said.

“We need to start balancing the budget,” he said.

The country is borrowing around 60 cents on every dollar, Smith said.

“We are not close to balancing our budget,” he said.

Wood County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Burdette could not be reached for comment.