Negations continue in Washington as the government shutdown continues. Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7) told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that he remains hopeful that a resolution can be reached within the next few days.
"Negotiations are continuing, and I hope there is a resolution either today or at the latest tomorrow," said Lance. "I want to make sure the government opens as quickly as possible and under no circumstances should we default on any aspect of our financial obligations."
The latest proposal by House Republicans includes a provision to suspend the tax on medical devices for two years as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The proposal also includes removal of federal care subsides for Obama and legislators when they obtain coverage under the reforms. Lance supports the proposal, but thinks that a delay of the medical device tax may not happen.
"I would support that proposal but I believe the delay of the medical device tax may now be off the table," said Lance. "It's very important for New Jersey eventually not to have that tax because we have a very vibrant medical device industry and I want to make sure that it continues to be vibrant. But as I understand the current discussions, we're moving in the direction of making sure that members of Congress and the president and the cabinet are in the health care exchanges and do not get some sort of special exemption that the American people do not have."
House Speaker John Boehner had mentioned that the House was still looking for fairness for the American people when it comes to Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act was one of the reasons initially why the government shutdown occurred. Lance said members of Congress and the president have to move forward to make sure that everyone complies on the provisions in the exchanges. He would have also liked to have had more done to get big businesses exemptions for a year, but that those changes are not being discussed.
Lance has hope that the shutdown will end soon as the debt ceiling deadline approaches.
"We are pushing up against the deadline on the debt ceiling and let me say that I do not want to default on the debt on any way," said Lance. "And by debt I mean not only payment of interest and treasury bills, but also payments of contracts in which the federal government has been a participant. The federal government contracts with not only with large business but small business and medium sized business and we should make sure that we pay our bills, we pay all of our bills, we pay all of our bills on time and we pay all of our bills fully. I consider myself a fiscal conservative and that means paying all of our bills on time."