Breaking from some more hard-line conservatives, Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler says it’s time to end the government shutdown and back away from the threat of defaulting on the national debt.
In a statement released Tuesday, Herrera Beutler said she’s avoided public comment before now because she wanted to give Republican leaders leeway to craft a deal.
But she said the time has come for Republicans “to face reality” and made it clear she will not vote for “poison pills” seeking to end the Affordable Care Act, which have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.
Her statement continues:
“Make no mistake — I have consistently opposed the Affordable Care Act, because it harms more people than it helps and it makes promises that the nation cannot afford to keep. But this President will not bend or compromise on this issue even if the shutdown lasts until the end of his term, and this continued fighting is making it less likely that we can make progress on this issue or on improving our economy or lowering our debt.
“This does not mean surrendering on the issue of the Affordable Care Act. I believe that the case will become clearer about the damage the Affordable Care Act is doing to our economy and our health care system. With time, and with new leadership in D.C. we can change that Act. But this shutdown is hurting our cause, not helping it.
“If this shutdown lasts much longer, negative impacts could be widespread. We are being told that veterans’ earned benefits will soon stop if the shutdown persists. The contingency funds that have supported food assistance for low income women, infants and children will be gone soon. Fishermen’s livelihoods are at stake as they can’t get the NOAA permits to harvest crabs and other fish, making narrow fishing seasons even narrower.
“In Longview, Washington, people who are critically injured must now wait for life flights to come from Oregon. The local hospital’s helicopter can’t get FAA certification during a shutdown. I can’t stand by and let this happen any longer.
“Like it or not, the White House and Senate have blocked House efforts to address the issues with the Affordable Care Act. Nothing positive will be achieved by prolonging this shutdown any longer, or crossing the debt limit threshold. It’s time for my colleagues to face reality.”
Herrera Beutler represents Southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. She was first elected in 2010, defeating Democrat Denny Heck (who was in turn elected to represent the 10th Congressional District last year). She was re-elected in 2012.