Today, U.S. Representative Heath Shuler and fellow leaders of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter to President Obama urging him to continue bipartisan negotiations with House and Senate leaders in order to produce a long-term federal budget and prevent a government shutdown.
"With the threat of a government shutdown imminent once again, the President and Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to get serious about working together to solve our nation's most pressing fiscal problems," said Rep. Shuler, who serves as a co-chair for the Blue Dog Coalition. "It's time for our leaders to rise above partisan agendas and make compromises to do what is right for the country."
The House and Senate must pass a spending bill before April 8th to avoid a government shutdown. Since January 2011, Congress has passed three short-term spending bills to keep the federal government operating.
"No business in America could survive without a long-term fiscal plan, and the federal government can't either," said Rep. Shuler. "Operating our country on a week-to-week basis is costly to taxpayers and creates a climate of uncertainty that stunts economic growth in both the public and private sector. I stand ready to work with the President and Congress to produce a responsible long-term federal budget that cuts spending and reduces the deficit."
The letter from Blue Dog Coalition leaders to President Obama is copied below.
April 4, 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Blue Dog Coalition we write to encourage continued negotiations with leaders of the House and Senate in order to produce a long-term spending bill and prevent a government shutdown.
Just as no business could survive without a year-long budget, we believe that the federal government cannot efficiently operate on a week by week basis. These short-term spending bills are costly to taxpayers and create too much uncertainty for both the public and private sector.
Furthermore, we believe that it is imperative that both Democrats and Republicans work together and make compromises to avoid a government shutdown. Until we move beyond these monthly battles on discretionary spending -- which represent less than 15 percent of the federal budget -- we cannot have a more serious conversation about the structural issues that plague our nation's fiscal health.
As we travel around our districts, we hear time and time again from our constituents that they are tired of the overheated political rhetoric that is dominating both parties and want us to begin mature conversations about our long-term fiscal problems.
We believe that as policy makers we have a clear choice in front of us: pursue a partisan approach that caters to the political extremes, or work together as Republicans and Democrats to solve our nation's most pressing issues. As members of the Blue Dog coalition, we stand ready and willing to work with you to ensure that fiscal responsibility remains a top priority for the United States Congress and your Administration.
Rep. Heath Shuler; Co-Chair, Administration
Rep. John Barrow; Co-Chair, Policy
Rep. Mike Ross; Co-Chair, Communications
Rep. Dan Boren: Co-Chair, Whip
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Rep. Jim Matheson