Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News talked to Rep. Mike Simpson about the furloughed workers Thursday. On Friday the only Democrat running for Congress in Idaho is speaking to us about the issue.
Shirley Ringo is a state representative for the 5th Congressional District. She is running against Rep. Raul Labrador for his seat. Ringo said it is a devastating situation for those who could be out of work at the lab and throughout the nation. She also said the furloughs should serve as a reminder to the American people.
"It is extremely disappointing, I don't think we've ever seen anything like this to this extent happen in Congress. It should be a wake-up call for everybody, I guess to play close attention to who we're electing and what their issues are," Ringo said.
On Thursday, we learned, 2,600 employees of Batelle Energy Alliance will be out of work. Local News 8 made several calls to conservative Republican candidate Bryan Smith for a response. Smith lives in Idaho Falls and is running against Rep. Mike Simpson. Calls to his campaign went unanswered.
Ringo also said Congress is holding the American people hostage. Ringo said if she were in Congress she would have voted for the clean bill and to raise the debt ceiling. She also said she would not be doing what her opponent Labrador is doing now.
"I definitely wouldn't be taking the path that he is taking because he has been very firm on the notion that unless something is done with the health care issue he is going to hold his ground and that is just absolutely not reasonable," said Ringo.
Labrador is a Republican who voted to delay the Affordable Care Act for a year.