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By Congressman Robert Hurt
A full two weeks into this lapse in government operations, there is no denying that our country is going through a very difficult time. While I was encouraged that the President finally agreed to talk with House Republicans this week about how to resolve this situation, more meaningful negotiations are needed so we can reopen the government in a fiscally responsible way. That said, I am equally discouraged by the fact that we are having this impasse in the first place. The President's stated position that he "will not negotiate" disregards the United States Constitution and our governing process. The executive and legislative branches are meant to work together to make decisions on behalf of our country, and the executive branch has largely closed the door to negotiations.
Last week, we saw an example of the legislative and executive branches working together to solve a significant problem, which should be a model for how we can settle this impasse. The House passed legislation to honor the gratuities owed to American families of deceased members of our military that were previously suspended during this lapse in government operations. The Senate went on to pass our bill, and the President signed it into law, resolving a serious issue. If only the Senate and the President would work with us in a similar fashion to reopen government, we could swiftly address the remaining challenges we face. Until the President and the Senate agree to do so, we in the House will continue to work toward funding crucial federal programs in the interim.
As the lapse in government operations continues and the date upon which we reach our national debt limit approaches, we as a country are facing two very significant hurdles that we must overcome by working together. Now more than ever, we need President Obama and the Senate to join the House in this effort to make financially sound decisions on behalf of the United States.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.