Welch presses Boehner to hold vote on budget, end shutdown

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has a message for Republican House Speaker John Boehner: Stop appeasing Tea Party lawmakers and turn the government’s lights back on.

Boehner has said he won’t let the House vote to end the shutdown or raise the debt ceiling unless President Barack Obama agrees to scale back the Affordable Care Act.

Welch, speaking at a news conference in his Vermont office Monday, urged Boehner to bring the Senate’s budget proposal up for a vote, and, like Obama, Welch said he’s confident that enough Republicans would support the measure for it to pass.

“If the Speaker put that on, I think we’d have the government lights back on in 20 minutes,” Welch said.

Vermont’s lone representative described the Tea Party lawmakers as willing to use “nuclear tip tactics” — government shutdown and the threat of a national debt default — in the service of an impossible goal— repealing the Affordable Care Act.

But he also said the “blame game” taking place in Washington is counterproductive.

“Frankly, I don’t know that there are any good guys,” Welch said. “I think getting into the blame game doesn’t help anybody and I leave it to you to make an assessment of who’s more or less responsible.”

Welch held up Karl Rove as an example of a mainstream Republican who’s dismissed the Tea Party’s tactics during this debate. “When you have Karl Rove, among others, saying that this is a dead-end strategy — default and shutdown to try to get rid of Obamacare, that tells you there is a way out. That’s the good news here.”

Republican lawmakers are constrained by a very real political threat, Welch acknowledged — if they vote for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, they risk losing their seats to Tea Party challengers. But speculation that Boehner would lose his speakership if he broke with the Tea Party ranks has been “overstated,” according to Welch.

Welch said that while repealing the health care law is not an option, he’s open to “making adjustments.” He didn’t cite specifics, but he said he’s been soliciting input from Vermonters, asking them, “What are your concrete suggestions of what we can do to change it?”

Implementation has been far from bump-free in Vermont — “Vermonters know we’re going to have to make significant adjustments in order to make it work,” Welch said. But, he added, “I’m confident the [Shumlin] administration is on it.”

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Alicia Freese

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  • Wendy wilton

    The most recent CR offered by the House allowed individual purchasers of insurance under the ACA be given a one year waiver that Obama gave to businesses by executive fiat, and required congress participate in the ACA at the same level that the rest of us must do. I thought this was reasonable. Why wouldn’t the Senate take this up and why would Obama threaten to veto? I am guessing those who voted against this last salvo in the House, refused to take it up in the Senate, including Senators Leahy and Sanders, and the President himself doesn’t want a lesser health care plan…not sure but that’s what it looks like to me. How did Congressman Welch vote on this last resolution?

    • Wendy wilton

      It turns out Congressman Welch voted no to CR 59 which would fund the government, allow individuals to have a one year waiver from ACA as the business interests were allowed to do and require that congress would participate in ACA at the same level as required of other US citizens. Again, I think that was a reasonable proposal to allow ACA to work and bring fairness to the implementation nationwide. Most Americans want reform, but we want it to work and we want it to be fair.
      This morning’s news flash: HHS has given ACA waivers to the states of Nevada (Sen. Harry Reid’s state) and New Hampshire. Both are swing states for the next Presidential election. Again, if the implementation of the law is proving to be problematic in those states, hence the requests for the waivers, what would be the harm of giving individuals in all states one more year to make a choice about participating or not?

  • Keith Stern

    “I’m confident the [Shumlin] administration is on it.”
    That is a scary thought, worse than I’m from the government and I’m here to help. .

  • Mark Donka

    But why is there no mention of the Senate not voting on the last 16 amendments that would have funded Veterans ,the National parks and the WIC program. Oh and Peter Welch voted against all of these resolutions.I guess he is more concerned with voting within party than helping Americans