The caucus of fiscally conservative Democrats told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that they won’t support the process of separate appropriations bills to plug holes during the shutdown.
Instead, the Blue Dogs want a “big, bipartisan budget deal.”
Caucus co-chairmen Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) wrote Boehner and Pelosi to declare “Congress cannot continue to approach long-term deficit reduction in piecemeal fashion.”
Blue Dogs have to this point, though, been backing Republicans on many of the piecemeal bills, including last week’s 259-157 vote to continue veterans benefits appropriations.
“We simply must stop living from crisis to crisis. It is no way for a superpower to govern and continues to cause permanent economic damage to our country,” they wrote to Boehner and Pelosi. “Blue Dogs are committed to working with our leaders to end the government shutdown and prevent defaulting on our nation’s debt for the first time in history.”
“The Blue Dog Coalition has long supported and continues to support comprehensive budget reform that includes consideration of all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues. The time is now to heed our call to action and attack our nation’s larger debt and deficit problems head on,” the letter continued.
“The national debt is quickly approaching $17 trillion, and budget reform is needed to strengthen our immediate economic recovery. We have to get serious about our national debt, and we stand ready to work with you on bipartisan solutions. It’s time for governing, not gridlock. Let’s seize this opportunity to break this unhealthy cycle.”
Cooper and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) wrote to Boehner on Monday to ask that a “clean” CR free of Obamacare language be brought to the floor.
“But we also are willing to work together to reopen the government, avoid a default of our nation’s debt obligations and fully implement the Affordable Care Act. In fact, we have been talking with our colleagues about how to end the current impasse,” wrote Cooper and Kind.