By Keith Rothfus
Congressman Keith Rothfus [PA-12] released the following column on the need for bipartisan cooperation to resolve the partial shutdown and reopen the government:
Our nation faces serious challenges. Congress and President Obama must work together to reopen the federal government and address the looming debt limit. A reasonable and bipartisan solution is possible, but getting the job done requires parties to come to the table and negotiate.
Ten months ago I arrived in our nation's capital as the new employee of 705,000 Pennsylvanians. I spent most of my working life in the private sector, which is why I am so frustrated with the squabbling inefficiency of Washington.
Before coming to Congress, I negotiated contracts. When we had a deadline, we worked until we ironed out a deal.
Western Pennsylvania families do the same. When moms and dads, brothers and sisters, parents and their children face challenges, they sit around the kitchen table, have a serious discussion, and figure things out. That is the sort of common-sense approach we need in Washington.
The House of Representatives made four separate offers to the Senate to fund the federal government and prevent a shutdown. These proposals were based on the principle that there should not be special treatment for the politically connected. All of these proposals were rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with no discussion or negotiation.
What Republicans are asking for is both simple and reasonable. We want the President to work with the House and Senate to get the job done.
While the House continues to work on a solution that will end the partial shutdown, we are taking action to reopen the federal government. Already, forty-three House Democrats have joined House Republicans to pass responsible solutions to provide immediate funding for veterans, guardsmen, reservists, pregnant women, new mothers, infants, children, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Aviation Authority, the National Institutes of Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
That's the kind of bipartisan cooperation the American people expect.
While Republicans and Democrats have worked together in the House to pass legislation to reopen the federal government, Senator Reid continues to obstruct, and his refusal to work out our differences is the equivalent of holding the doorknob and leaning back to prevent us from opening it.
President Obama has also repeatedly refused to compromise.
This is unacceptable. The American people expect and deserve much better. President Obama and the Senate must work with the House to find solutions for the American people.
Working together in a divided government has been done before.
Our nation has had a divided government for ninety-four years of its 224-year history. Twenty-eight of forty-four presidents have led divided governments and found ways to compromise and negotiate with members of the other party to find reasonable solutions.
Congress and the President must come together once again, this time to reopen the federal government, address the debt limit, and prevent default.
I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to end this impasse and come to reasonable solutions to fund the government and address the debt limit. But, doing so requires a willing partner. Leaders in both parties need to sit down together and work out a solution.