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It's Time To End The Shutdown


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Today marks day nine of the federal government shutdown. And as the debt-limit deadline nears, investors show growing concern about a U.S. default. Despite this, Washington remains stuck in neutral.

Congress continues to pass individual spending bills to restore funding for government services like military and veterans assistance, FEMA, nutrition assistance, life-saving cancer trials, keeping our parks and museums open and pay for our troops.

All received bipartisan support in the House, but only the military pay bill has been adopted by the Senate and signed into law by the President.

President Obama continues his refusal to compromise or negotiate with Speaker Boehner on the debt-limit. Mr. Obama's position is untenable and defies history. Presidents from both political parties dating back to the Eisenhower administration have negotiated these issues with Congress.

In 1985, Ronald Reagan signed a debt-ceiling deal with Speaker Tip O'Neill and congressional Democrats that set deficit caps. In 1997, Bill Clinton hammered out an agreement with Speaker Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, reform Medicare and cut capital-gains taxes.

President Obama in 2010 worked out an agreement with then-Blue Dog Democrats who conditioned their support for a debt limit hike on passage of PAYGO legislation. And just two years ago, the President signed the Budget Control Act, which raised the debt ceiling in exchange for federal spending cuts.

President Obama and Senate Democrats refuse to negotiate during a government shutdown despite these precedents.

It is time to break this gridlock. Like-minded Republicans and Democrats in the both the House and the Senate are working on a compromise that would reopen our government, fund it at sequestration levels and repeal the ObamaCare medical device tax. This idea has the support of House members from both sides of the aisle, lead by Republican Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Democrat Ron Kind of Wisconsin, as well as U.S. Senators John McCain and Pat Toomey.

Why repeal ObamaCare's medical device tax? Economists estimate the $30 billion medical device tax will cause the loss of as many as 43,000 U.S. jobs in one of the country's fastest growing, most innovative industries.

In New Jersey thousands of workers who depend on the medical-technology industry risk losing their jobs because of this ObamaCare tax. These workers contribute billions of dollars to our Garden State economy each year.

And this tax won't lower healthcare costs. It will reduce investment in research and development of innovative treatments and devices and raise costs on seniors citizens and others who depend upon these lifesaving and life-improving devices. The ObamaCare medical device tax is bad policy and deserves full repeal.

The President says he won't address the important fiscal issues facing our Nation unless the government shutdown ends first.

Then let us pass this bipartisan, bicameral plan to reopen the government and force President Obama to the negotiating table.

Only then will we have an opportunity to pass a debt-limit agreement that includes common-sense spending and entitlement reforms and policies that will create jobs, strengthen our economy, reduce our debt and deficits and put us on a glide path toward fiscal responsibility.

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