WALLA WALLA — As a partial government shutdown entered its second week, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Republicans in the House and Senate remain absolutely committed to their demands that the President negotiate with them to avoid going over a fiscal cliff.
“The Republicans are united, I’ve never seen us more united than as we are now,” she said today in a phone interview from Washington D.C.
A meeting of the entire Republican conference this morning did not result in any apparent progress on resolving the impasse.
According to The Washington Post, aides said rank-and-file lawmakers — incensed by what they consider Obama’s refusal to recognize their constitutional role in the budget process — were in no mood to compromise.
“We’re just waiting for the phone to ring,” one senior aide was quoted in the article.
But McMorris Rodgers said “our goal right now is to start the conversation” to avoid a complete shutdown, which could happen by Oct. 17.
The current situation is similar to a family dispute where both sides have to sit down at the table and talk things out, but that effort isn’t being made by Democrats or the President, she said.
McMorris Rodgers said what she and others are hearing from constituents is that “they don’t want us to continue kicking the can down the road” in regards to addressing key issues of economic growth and balancing the budget.
The consensus is the Republicans are going to continue to ask for a dialogue on those issues and others in order to move ahead.
Personally, McMorris Rodgers said she is reaching out to colleagues in the House to find “how we can at least start a conversation” on resolving the issue.
She said she and fellow lawmakers are continuing to pass legislation to keep portions of the federal government funded.
Comments such as the one made Sunday by Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, aren’t helping the process, McMorris Rodgers said.
In a news conference, Inslee called the current federal government shutdown “deranged.”
“That kind of rhetoric is unhelpful and (not) constructive” McMorris Rodgers said.
According to The Washington Post, New polling showed that the fiscal standoff is hurting Republicans far more than it is Obama, although no party is faring particularly well.
A Washington Post-ABC News survey found that 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans are handling budget negotiations, up from 63 percent last week, with 24 percent approving.
Obama’s approval rating on budget matters ticked up slightly over the same time period — from 41 percent to 45 percent — but 51 percent disapprove.
Obama’s Democratic colleagues in Congress are faring worse, with 61 percent of Americans disapproving, up from 56 percent before the shutdown, the Post reported.
Andy Porter can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8318.