CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's political leaders disagree on the federal government shutdown that began at midnight Monday.
House Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for individuals, as well as for businesses. They cite the White House's July decision to delay requiring businesses to provide health-care coverage to their employees by a year, until the beginning of 2015.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said of the Republicans on Tuesday, "In reflecting on nearly 50 years of public service, I can hardly think of a time when a group of lawmakers have acted so recklessly as now.
"Overseeing the operations of our federal government is a profoundly serious responsibility entrusted to Congress by the American people," Rockefeller said. "Today, a very vocal few are abdicating that moral and constitutional responsibility through a vicious campaign to deny health-care coverage to millions of Americans."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he is "embarrassed and ashamed of Congress and the unnecessary harm that is being inflicted on our citizens and country."
Manchin said last week that while he opposed the mandate that required people to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act, he would not vote to shut down the government over it.
"While I continue to have strong concerns about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the choices and costs that West Virginians will face, I believe there are aspects of the health-care law that are important to West Virginia's seniors, children, uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions," Manchin said Tuesday.
"Health care for Americans is a serious issue, but I still believe that it should not be part of the budget negotiations that fund our government. The real problem is that we have refused to deal with our budget crisis in a responsible manner."
Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David B. McKinley, both R-W.Va., voted for a House amendment to postpone implementing the Affordable Care Act, often called "Obamacare." That amendment passed the House, 228-201.
On Tuesday, Capito said, "I am deeply disappointed that September 30th has come and gone without passage of a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open.
"On Monday, I voted for a continuing resolution that would have averted a government shutdown while at the same time ending the special health insurance subsidy provided to members of Congress and providing individual Americans with the same delay that President Obama provided to businesses."
McKinley criticized the Senate on Monday, saying, "The House has offered several, reasonable compromises to prevent Americans from being hurt by Obamacare, but have all been rejected by [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership."
Larry Puccio, chairman of West Virginia's Democratic Party, said Tuesday that Capito voted "five times over the last 10 days [for legislation] to shut down the government.