Washington » Rep. Jim Matheson is joining a bipartisan effort to end the government shutdown and Washington gridlock, urging congressional leaders to pass a six-month budget and get back to work on America’s pressing issues.
"This is going to offer a solution to the impasse, and we’re not talking about looking backward, [playing the] blame game, or how we got here at all," Matheson said. "We’re just saying, ‘Look the government should be running and we’re here to try and fix it.’ "
The Utah congressman teamed up Thursday with seven fellow Democrats and 11 Republicans to say that the House and Senate should pass a six-month spending plan — much longer than the six-week measure currently being debated — and cut the medical-device tax from the Affordable Care Act and pay for that through "smoothing" out payments in another program.
With Republicans and Democrats seemingly unwilling to move from their positions on the federal budget, the government’s "non-essential" services remained closed for the third day. The group Matheson joined, headed by Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Penn., pulls together moderates from both sides of the aisle.
The group also includes some on the more conservative and liberal wings.
"Sometimes we need to learn to walk again before we can run," Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., said at a news conference announcing the coalition.
Whether congressional leaders will listen to the new group is the question, though if its numbers grow, it could play a bigger role in what measures can be brought up on the House floor.
Thomas Burrand Jordan Bailey
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