Today marked the first day of a federal government shutdown in 17 years. Republican members of Congress want to delay portions of the Affordable Care Act in order to agree to fund the government. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he and his fellow Republicans want to keep the federal government open and he hopes to reach a resolution soon.
“One of the things that came out of our marathon session last night and early this morning is that we’re trying to get a House/Senate conference committee, something we do often when we have the potential — and hopefully we do — of marrying both Senate and House objectives, which should be to keep the U.S. government open for business,” Frelinghuysen said. “So a lot of activity. Obviously the focus is to make sure that we get the job done.”
Frelinghuysen said there has been a lot of posturing and grandstanding from the White House, the president, the Senate and the House. “As a result, people have not been talking to one another. They’ve been talking around each other, talking through people. We need to start talking. We need to open negotiations. I think it’s important,” he said. “We’ve got hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are gonna be losing pay and not returning to work and having their lives ruined. I think we need to get about the business of putting them back to work and doing it as soon as possible.”
When asked if he believes the Republicans have chosen the right path by taking a stand on the Affordable Care Act, Frelinghuysen said he believes President Obama’s health care plan is unpopular.
“I don’t think shutting the government down at any time is a good idea. But I do feel that we do need to take a pause in the implementation of this rather controversial, very controversial health care law. But quite honestly, I think we need to delay it. I don’t think there’s the possibility of de-funding it, although people would. There are many people, certainly a number in my party, that would like to de-fund it,” he said. “But at least we need to delay its implementation to take a look at ways to improve it, provide more accountability.”
Frelinghuysen said it remains to be seen if he and his fellow Republicans will vote to stop the shutdown without a clause about the Affordable Care Act.
“There was talk last night of a clean resolution and I think we perhaps may be moving in that direction. I think one of our objectives is to slow down the president’s health care reform, take a look at the variety of the problems that it’s having with its implementation, which are affecting jobs and the economy,” he said.