Grimes says 'no political gain' to government shutdown and it must end

10/08/2013 10:40 AM

FRANKFORT — In her first comments to reporters about the government shutdown, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday called for the stalemate to end but wouldn’t say specifically what she’d like to see national Democrats do to achieve that.

“There’s no political gain or advantage to a government shutdown regardless of what Sen. (Mitch) McConnell might think,” Grimes told Pure Politics and the Associated Press after leaving a meeting of a task force on overseas military voting. “It’s time to get our government back up.”

Grimes, however, side-stepped repeated efforts to clarify whether she believed national Democrats needed to change their approach. President Obama and Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid have said they won’t negotiate over the defunding or delaying of the Affordable Care Act, which U.S. House Republicans attached to the continuing resolution to keep the government funded in absence of a budget for Fiscal Year 2014. That new year began Oct. 1, which is when the government shutdown.

“There’s no political point to be made at the expense of so many Kentuckians who are hurting right now,” Grimes said, citing, for instance, civilian federal workers who have been furloughed at Fort Knox.

McConnell has repeatedly blamed national Democrats for not being willing to negotiate to end the shutdown. Democrats have pointed fingers at Republicans for linking the government funding to what they consider an effort to gut the Affordable Care Act.

Before answering a few questions from reporters, Grimes had just announced to the task force on military voting that Kentucky will get $2.2 million in a federal grant through the Voting Assistance Act to help implement a new system to deliver election ballots to Kentuckians serving in the military all over the world.

Grimes said she’s hopeful that check already has been cut and won’t be affected by the government shutdown.

Grimes made overseas military voting a signature issue in the 2013 session as she pushed for a system to also allow those ballots to be returned electronically. Some county clerks, though, have expressed concern about the security of electronic ballot return. That’s the main reason why a task force has been called to look into that.

(For more on that issue, watch Pure Politics tonight at 7 p.m. EST/6 Central on Time Warner Cable’s cn|2)

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