BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - There are a couple thousand Western New Yorkers who are home on Wednesday after being furloughed because of the partial shutdown of the federal government.
News 4 asked Congressman Chris Collins if he thinks we are anywhere near the end. Collins says Senator Harry Reid and Democrats continue to refuse to negotiate.
"No," he responded. "I think we're further away from bringing this to an end."
Collins has furloughed 10 of his 14 staff members. He has closed one office and has just three others working in his DC office. He has also suspended his own pay and introduced a bill that all members of Congress should not get paid.
But what he isn't doing is backing down in saying the Democrats are the ones to blame. And until they agree to meet in a room, the shutdown will continue.
Collins said, "It's going to take the President of the United States to say 'Enough of this foolishness, let's go in the room and negotiate.' Harry Reid, you get you and your staff in a room, the Republicans are already there."
This isn't the first time federal workers in Buffalo were sent home, not knowing when their next paycheck will come. The last government shutdown lasted for weeks in 1995, stretching into 1996.
"It makes me feel a little bewildered at the whole mess. It makes me think there is a lot of posturing on both sides, Democrat and Republican," a Buffalo federal worker said in November 1995.
That statement made nearly 18 years ago sounds very similar to what people are saying today. But there are some differences in this current government shutdown.
Former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich said they were constantly meeting face-to-face to negotiate. Collins says now, the two sides aren't making much of an attempt to compromise.
"Here in Washington, the dysfunction is they seemed focused on "lose-lose." And what they to make certain is the other side loses a little more," Collins said.
There is talk that a compromise between Democrats and Republicans could be stalled by Tea Party members in the House. Collins says he doesn’t think that will be an issue.
He believes a solution will finally come when Congress tackles the upcoming debt ceiling deadline October 17th.
"I think right now we should move the focus off this continuing resolution and put it on a solution to the deficit, which creates the need to raise the debt year in and year out. And we've got to sit down to talk about that," Collins said.
"As the clock is ticking and if we're going to be hitting the debt ceiling, and have the same debate in two weeks time, I think that we should just admit today that we have got to resolve them both together and not be lurching back and forth."
"This is going to take a lot of work. It's not going to be done in 24 or 48 hours as we're hitting the debt ceiling in two weeks time. We should have been in a room negotiating this for the last two months. And right now I don't see any easy road to a solution."
If history says anything about how furloughed Buffalo workers will react, Congress will need to act soon to prevent anger from spilling over into protest.
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