PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement from USW International President Leo W. Gerard in response to today's vote in Congress to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling: "For the past two weeks, the American people have watched helplessly as the extreme right-wing Tea Party Republicans hijacked government and turned the Capitol into a circus. We are thankful that this unnecessary government shutdown is now over, but in the end, it was nothing more than a colossal waste of time and money—some $24 billion according to Standard & Poor's -- by people who should know better. "Americans sent these representatives to Washington to create good jobs and continue our recovery from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. This is what they promised to do. Instead, this shameless group of Republicans took it upon themselves to attempt to overturn the results of our democratic process. Now it's time for them to get back to the work they were sent there to do. "It may be weeks or months before we know the full effects of this spectacle. But we do know that this shutdown and the threat of default left hundreds of thousands of working Americans wondering how they would pay their bills, and left millions of others to wonder whether their government would be there when they needed it. The American people deserve better. "Our leaders must remember that elections have consequences. American voters spoke at the ballot box in November, decisively sending President Barack Obama back to the White House. For a small minority of elected officials to attempt to nullify the results of that election by holding the entire government and the world economy hostage is not only irresponsible, it is reprehensible. "When we return to the voting booth next year to elect a new Congress, we must not forget the actions we have seen in recent weeks, nor the harm that these representatives have inflicted upon this country in their shortsighted, selfish efforts to impose their extreme ideology on all of us."