U.S. Rep. Larson Says Republicans Are Blackmailing Nation

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The government has been shut down for six days, and all eyes are on Capitol Hill and the efforts of Congress to reach a budget deal.

U.S. Rep. John Larson was in Connecticut Sunday meeting with constituents and voicing his frustration about the shutdown.

“You can’t hold up and punish the entire country over an ideological point of view,” Larson said at a forum at the Wethersfield Public Library.

Rep. Larson said House Republicans are shutting down the federal government over a health care law they don’t like.

“I’m not going to negotiate on blackmail where you hold a gun to the nation’s head over trying to get 20 million people insurance,” he said. “A very small group of people determined to shut down the government, but in essence shut down democracy so that a majority of people are muffled, unable to vote, unable to even get a vote.”

The Senate adjourned for the weekend without voting on a bill unanimously passed by the House Saturday that would authorize back pay for 800,000 furloughed federal employees, but only after the shutdown ends.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Pentagon has ordered about 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work. That means nearly 5,000 furloughs that would have taken effect Monday in Connecticut have been averted.

Employees at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford and Sikorsky based in Stratford will head into work Monday.

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