DENVER–It turns out even Democrats don’t listen to Vice President Joe Biden.
For the past week, Colorado Democrats have insisted that the federal shutdown would wreck flood-recovery efforts, even though Biden assured Coloradans a week ago that it would have no impact on disaster relief.
“The truth of the matter is, there’s reason to be scared, but not in terms of disaster relief,” said Biden during his Sept. 24 stop in Greeley, Colo., to view the flooding aftermath. “None of the federal assistance that we’re providing—none of it—is going to be impacted, even if there’s a government shutdown.
Gov. John Hickenlooper echoed that message Tuesday, saying at a press conference that the relief efforts would proceed without interruption. He also announced that he will use state funds to compensate National Guard engineers working to repair flood-damaged U.S. 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.
“This is such a critical roadway that we are going to pay them out of our emergency resources until the federal government gets things squared away,” said Hickenlooper, as reported by KMGH-TV.
Those assurances stand in stark contrast to the dire predictions coming from other Colorado Democrats.
“A shutdown, the product of extreme, right-wing Republicans trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act, would endanger needed flood-recovery and rebuilding efforts,” said a statement on the Colorado Democratic Party website posted the same day as Biden’s comments.
From Colorado Democratic Party chair Rick Palacio: “They’d [Republicans] rather fight the tired political battles of the past than fund the government and rebuilding efforts Coloradans urgently need before the winter snowfall.”
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet linked the events in a Friday message on Twitter: “As we recover from the floods, government shutdown is the last thing Colorado needs now.”
Democrats have attempted to blame the federal shutdown on Republicans, even though the House Republicans voted three times to avert a shutdown by approving a budget resolution that included a delay on implementing Obamacare.
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner said in a Tuesday statement he’s confident Biden will keep his word on disaster relief. The historic floods resulted in eight deaths and brought destruction to 17 counties along a 200-mile strip of the Front Range.
“As President Obama’s chief surrogate, I trust Vice President Biden’s word,” said Gardner. “The President and Vice President must stay true to their promise and see to it that federal assistance is not slowed or stopped in any way as the Vice President promised.”
Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino conceded Tuesday in a statement that the federal shutdown “will not significantly impact Colorado’s recovery from the flood disaster,” thanks to “the governor’s strong leadership.”
Ferrandino didn’t mention the vice president.