McCarthy: negotiation will end shutdown

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

As the blame game for the government shutdown is played out in the media, in Congress and around countless watercoolers nationwide, Rep. Kevin McCarthy says the only thing that will expedite the end is for President Barack Obama to sit down with leadership of the U.S. Senate and House to negotiate a budget deal.

While the House, and Republicans in general, has taken much of the heat for the financial disasters wrought by 12 months of fiscal cliff scares, a triggered sequestration, furloughs and now the shutdown, McCarthy said that House Repub-licans have repeatedly asked, and been declined, an opportunity to craft a solution. According to McCarthy, America’s fiscal crisis is long past the point of ignoring.

“I think part of the problem is that when you talk in trillions of dollars, the numbers are just too big. So I tell people to just take away the zeroes at the end. If you are a family, that means you made $27,000 last year but spent $35,000. Since you have $8,000 you can’t pay, you put that on a credit card.

“What we are talking about with increasing our debt ceiling is continuing to dump that $8,000 a year on a credit card — which already has $170,000 and is collecting more interest every day,” said McCarthy.

“President Obama said he wants the debt ceiling raised, no questions asked. We don’t get a say in trying to cut spending. How could you, as a family, just keep adding to that debt without discussing it? How can we?”

During the six years of Obama’s administration, Congress has not passed a budget —including the first two years when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. “This is the first time in history we have had a president who has simply been unwilling to help both sides reconcile.”

While Congress has been the object of much finger-pointing, so has Obama been accused of using sequestration and the shutdown as ineffective political tantrums to force his will on conservative leadership. While Republicans are earning a name for themselves as the “Party of No,” McCarthy said the line in the sand is their last attempt to rein in spending before a debt-ceiling increase compounds the existing problem.

In the last week citizens from every point on the political spectrum have questioned the sense behind investing in infrastructure that keeps the public out of “closed” national parks and monuments. Others scratch their heads over the logic behind sending federal em-ployees home during the shutdown, then voting to pay them anyway.

Thus the speculation on whether the shutdown will actually save money or is meant as a political bully tactic.

“When I am in session I walk across the aisle, sit down with my Democratic colleagues and listen to them,” said McCarthy, who added that the fact that 57 House Democrats voted with the Republicans to avert the shutdown as evidence that not all members of Obama’s political party are behind his agenda.

“In Congress our problem is that we can’t negotiate if the other side doesn’t talk to you. That’s what we are seeing with the White House. They will talk to Putin, they talk to the President of Iran, but not to us.”

McCarthy said the day after the House passed its proposed solution to avert the shutdown, House leaders were scheduled to meet the Senate leaders to negotiate an agreement. The Senate, and Obama, did not show up.

“I cannot imagine why a leader in the free world, knowing the ramifications and what is at stake, would not take it upon himself to call this conference, let alone refuse to show up.”

He said that as America slogs through its second week of the “shutdown,” one of the most important milestones ahead is Oct. 17 — the deadline for dealing with the debt ceiling.

“We can’t wait until the last day to solve this. We need to sit down and start talking. The only way I can see that happening is that the public realizes what is stalling us and tells Harry Reid to come to the table,” said McCarthy.

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Story First Published: 2013-10-09