UPDATE - Rep. Herrera Beutler breaks ranks from U.S. House GOP leaders, calls for compromise to end shutdown

OlympianOctober 15, 2013 

Jaime Herrera Beutler


Original Oct. 15 post:

Could a dam be breaking in the U.S. House? Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas put out a statement Tuesday telling leaders in her House Republican caucus to drop their fight over Obamacare and move to quickly end the government shutdown.  The news release from Herrera Beutler carries the headline: “Stop the Posturing, End This Shutdown” and it says she won’t vote for “poison pills that have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.’’

With the government about to go over the debt-limit cliff, time is of the essence. Her spokesman Casey Bowman said there is too little time for procedural maneuvers to force a House vote on a Senate bill, so the second-term congresswoman is asking House leaders to allow a vote on a budget bill that will pass the Senate and get signed by President Obama.

Here is the congresswoman’s statement, which breaks her silence since the shutdown began Oct. 1: 

“Despite my skepticism, until now I have refrained from public comment on the House budget negotiating strategy.  I wanted to give House Republican leaders leeway to craft the best deal they could.  But it’s time to reopen the government and ensure we don’t default on our debt. I will not vote for poison pills that have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law. “Make no mistake -- I have consistently opposed the Affordable Care Act, because it harms more people than it helps and it makes promises that the nation cannot afford to keep.  But this President will not bend or compromise on this issue even if the shutdown lasts until the end of his term, and this continued fighting is making it less likely that we can make progress on this issue or on improving our economy or lowering our debt.  “This does not mean surrendering on the issue of the Affordable Care Act.  I believe that the case will become clearer about the damage the Affordable Care Act is doing to our economy and our health care system.  With time, and with new leadership in D.C. we can change that Act.  But this shutdown is hurting our cause, not helping it.

“ If this shutdown lasts much longer, negative impacts could be widespread.  We are being told that veterans’ earned benefits will soon stop if the shutdown persists.  The contingency funds that have supported food assistance for low income women, infants and children will be gone soon. Fishermen’s livelihoods are at stake as they can’t get the NOAA permits to harvest crabs and other fish, making narrow fishing seasons even narrower. 

“In Longview, Washington, people who are critically injured must now wait for life flights to come from Oregon.  The local hospital’s helicopter can’t get FAA certification during a shutdown. I can't stand by and let this happen any longer.

“Like it or not, the White House and Senate have blocked House efforts to address the issues with the Affordable Care Act.  Nothing positive will be achieved by prolonging this shutdown any longer, or crossing the debt limit threshold.  It’s time for my colleagues to face reality.”

Herrera Beutler, who represents southwest Washington in the 3rd district, is one of four House Republicans from Washington and the first to clearly break from the pack. 

Stay tuned.

UPDATES: With a Senate deal in the works Wednesday morning, the Washington Post outlined a scenario the House approves that relying mostly on Democrats with some Republicans, like Herrera Beutler, crossing over to end the shutdown. 

Rep. Dave Reichert of east King County has indicated previously he was willing to vote for a "clean" budget resolution that did not seek to delay or repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Rep. Denny Heck, an Olympia Democrat, is tweeting optimistically on Wednesday that developments in the Senate make it possible the federal government could reopen on Thursday.

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