(Harrisburg) -- A midstate member of Congress is the only one from the state's delegation to break party ranks in a dispute that's plunging the nation into a partial government shutdown.
Congressman Charles Dent, who's district includes portions of Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon counties, cast votes late last night against Republican attempts to scale back President Obama's signature health care law as the price to keep the federal government fully funded and running.
Dent is in his fifth term in Congress. He says it's time to govern and the debate over the health care law should happen separately.
Pennsylvania's 13 other Republicans in Congress, including Joe Pitts, Scott Perry, Lou Barletta, Bill Shuster, Glenn Thompson and Tom Marino, opposed Democrats' efforts to pass a funding bill free of provisions to scale back the health care law.
However, suburban Philadelphia Congressman Patrick Meehan now says it's time for the House to vote for a short-term funding bill.
The state's six Democrats in Congress, including Matt Cartwright, were united.
U.S. Representative Tom Marino (PA-10) issued the following statement regarding the shutdown of the federal government, which went into effect at midnight on October 1, 2013:
“Those of us who first came to the House of Representatives in 2010 and 2012 are here as a direct result of public opposition to Obamacare and the wasteful spend-and-tax policies of Washington Democrats. Every day I continue to hear the same thing from more of my constituents: do what it takes to repeal or defund the president’s job-killing healthcare law.
“So today, we find ourselves locked in a fight against those who refuse to listen to the American people and negotiate with Republicans in the House. We find ourselves at odds with a president and a Democratic-controlled Senate that would stop at nothing to see the implementation of a law that raises taxes, increases healthcare premiums, destroys jobs and devastates our economy.
“Efforts of House Republicans over the past week resulted in several pieces of legislation that would have kept the government open. Unfortunately, the Senate chose to take the weekend off rather than pass any one of those bills.
“The Democrats in the Senate would not accept a bill to fund the government and defund Obamacare, so we sent them a bill to fund the government and delay implementation of Obamacare. When the Senate rejected that, we sent them a bill to fund the government and delay implementation of the individual mandate.
“Senate Democrats again refused a reasonable solution, forcing a shutdown of the federal government. So now, we have asked the Senate to go to conference in order to work out our differences in the continuing resolution. Not surprisingly, Senator Reid says he will reject that offer as well.
“President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have made it clear that they will not allow for a full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, those who gave us the majority need to know their voices are being heard. If not now, then when?
“House Republicans stand ready to work with the president and Senator Reid to reach a compromise for the American people. Again, we will wait for the Senate to act.”
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