Op-Ed: Kicking The Can Down The Road

keith-rothfus

Some people have criticized Members of Congress for “kicking the can down the road” with the recent legislation that ended the partial government shutdown and raised the debt ceiling. Others have criticized the lack of compromise in Washington, D.C. Those are precisely the two reasons I did not vote for this legislation.

Over the past month, I voted for numerous solutions that would have prevented the shutdown and reopened the government. Many of these solutions passed the House with bipartisan support. Instead of negotiating or compromising, President Obama and Senator Reid repeatedly declared their opposition to talks about resolving our differences. In fact, Senator Reid’s abuse of the legislative process was laid bare when he chastised District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in public and told him not to “screw up” the Democrat Senate leader’s political agenda.

House Republicans made numerous good faith efforts to compromise with President Obama and Senator Reid. We moved from working to repeal the health care law, to defunding it, to just delaying it. The solution that we passed on October 1st would have simply provided individuals and families the same one-year delay that President Obama gave to big businesses.

Delaying the individual mandate is neither partisan nor unreasonable. In fact, a proposal to do this passed the House in July with twenty-two Democrat votes. Picking up any newspaper lays bare the common sense of delaying a program so ill-prepared to function.

In addition, our solution would have stripped the special break the Obama Administration made for Members of Congress.

Under the health care law, Members of Congress must participate in the health insurance exchanges if they wish to obtain insurance in connection with their employment. The Administration decided through the regulatory process to continue providing employer contributions even though the law does not give the government the authority to do so.

Western Pennsylvania individuals and families at comparable income levels enrolling in the exchanges would not qualify for such government subsidies. Consequently, Members of Congress are getting a special deal not available to the American people.

This is wrong. Members of Congress must live by the same rules as the American people.

Furthermore, if the health care law offers such a wonderful deal for the American people, tell me why the President, Congress, and Secretary Sebelius were not first in line to sign up?

The last solution the House proposed on October 15th would have left the individual mandate in place, reopened the government, and increased the debt limit while still removing the special treatment for Members of Congress. This proposal was met with a veto threat from the President and another categorical rejection in the Senate.

Senator Reid’s bill, which the House passed on October 16th, not only did not contain any compromise with respect to protecting special deals, but it raised the debt level again without any reforms to change our disastrous debt trajectory.

We have an obligation to pay our bills, but when we raise the debt limit, we need to take steps to make sure we can pay those bills long into the future.

You don’t sign a contract to buy a car and then expect the bank to give you a loan if you are not going to be able to make the payments. Taking out a new loan without getting spending under control when you are already at your credit limit is not avoiding default, it’s delaying it.

The legislation that passed on October 16th was not the only way to avoid default. Rather, default could have been avoided with a simple thirty day suspension of the debt limit followed immediately by a serious conversation between the President and Congress about how best to address the debt crisis that is robbing our future prosperity.

Of course that conversation could only happen if President Obama and Senator Reid came to the table and were ready to talk, compromise, and negotiate in good faith.

It is time for an end to governing by crisis. My hope is that all elected officials in Washington, D.C. are finally ready to sit down and do the important work of the American people: address the deficit, find a better way on health care reform, and get the economy booming again.

 

17 comments

  1. Any discussion of the previous impending shutdown fiasco MUST include the efforts of Ted Cruz and the other Tea Party members to kill the AHCA, regardless of the consequences; and yes, he has stated it as such publicly, and as his raison d’ etre. It is his “platform’ for his mindless constituent sheep who, he says, sent him there to tilt at the windmills of big government. You nicely avoid this main issue and focus on what one would think are the core issues, when in reality they had little to do with the votes for or against the shutdown. People scrambled around at the last minute to save their political asses; period — hapless John Boehner included. That’s interesting, because the Republican Party is in shambles because of it. You hit all the “right buttons” here for “logically” and “morally” addressing the problem, but there is no logic or morality in the absolutism of the Tea Party. It is all-inclusive, dogmatic, unthinking extremism, more at place in the confused mind of a whirling dervish than in a democracy. Ted Cruz will be around for a while, seeking to undermine, but his and the Tea Party’s efforts have dealt the Republicans a fatal blow, and will ensure the Democrats the win in the next election, regardless of who runs on the Democratic ticket. You, by association, are part of the problem, like it or not. Address that, and deal with the real issues. Tell us that you disavow Tea Party extremism, and I shall believe some of what you say. Use your “It was the right thing to do” op-ed, if you like, but it doesn’t address the real problem. After the current stay of execution for the AHCA, we will be right back at it again next year, and Ted Cruz will be at the forefront of destruction — ours, and, yours as well. Admit it. Or, will you walk right up to him and grab his rhetorical lapels and shout, “Enough is enough!” ? This op-ed is a flimsy, transparent apologia for a vote that was made for the wrong reasons.

  2. a real regular guy

    Keith, why don’t you admit that you followed the marching orders of the Koch brothers, being the good little Kochsucker that you are, and voted to keep the government shut down because that is what you were told to do? The people of this area have had enough of your BS trying to justify your votes…….come next year, you will have to run on your record, and it won’t be very pretty. You won’t be able to fool the people as to your being a “regular guy” who has their interests at heart…So long!

  3. Ladies and Gentlemen: Keith Rothfus, Tea Party Apologist

  4. “They kicked the can down the road when we wanted to simply wait a year to have this law take effect.”

    Isn’t waiting a year the definition of kicking the can down the road.

  5. The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of
    entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to
    limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the
    necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate
    willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much
    deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of
    what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind
    anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The
    Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a
    multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president

    • @wtf1: YOU INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST, PLAGIARIZING, LYING SON OF A BITCH! The following explanation for your stolen 2009/2012 cut and pasted quote — no quotes and no reference source — comes from Snopes.com (below). When I read it in your post, given as your original and without credit to apparently make yourself look smart, the honed language was too “good” to be a “true” comment from a BC Republican poster. This flagrant dishonesty places you squarely in the midst of the Republican bastards who will do ANYTHING to smear Obama. It is even out of context, with the birth certificate travesty originally triggering it. Lie, cheat, steal to subvert the system. You don’t even cut and paste, or scan, with any competence. I hope Keith Rothfus appreciates the support from fellow Republican crooks like you to convince his electorate that he is worthy of their votes. I only hope that you are some smart-assed high school kid trying to stir up the public’s emotions, for if you are an adult, you have far too much time, and far too little intelligence, to attempt such foolishness.

      What? You just copied it from the internet to make a point? Sorry, Charlie, it doesn’t work that way.

      From Snopes.com:

      “Origins: This item circulated in November 2012 supposedly reproduces an article that appeared in “the Prague newspaper, Prager Zeitungon.” This appears to be a misspelled reference to Prager Zeitung (“Prague Newspaper”), a German language weekly newspaper from the Czech Republic which is also circulated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

      However, the version of this item circulated online provides no other contextual information (such as a publication date or headline) to help track down if and when it was actually published in Prager Zeitung. A search of that newspaper’s web site currently pulls up only one article which mentions Barack Obama, and that mention is an incidental reference about the level of security provided to a U.S. president.

      Even if the Prager Zeitung or some similar newspaper did reproduce this item it likely did not originate there, as this bit of text was circulating anonymously as far back as 2009 and did not pick up an attribution crediting it to the Prager Zeitung until much later.

      Read more at
      http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/pragerzeitungon.asp#24tmRxbksihLuQTO.99

  6. wtf1: C’mon, now. Flowery rhetoric without substance? Do you want the number for the John Birch Society? They have nice scripts downloadable online for disaffected proselytizers.

    • Good catch Raven. Several Keith op-eds ago I caught someone using the same plagiarizing tactic. I discovered it only because I had no idea what they were babbling about, so I googled a phrase from their content. Lo and behold – their entire comment, word for word, was on some nut-case right-wing blogger’s site.

      Tea-baggers don’t like ANYTHING the federal government does, they DESPISE the President (and say it’s NOT because he’s black), and generally they want to take us back to the 1800′s. They just parrot what they hear from Fox and crew. Pathetic.

      • @medinfo20000: It IS about racism. Enough time has passed to show that very clearly. It’s an insidious, subconscious, although sometimes very deliberate, current that flows though the whole of radical conservative political thinking. And the phony position of “no big government” be damned. It is about white, right and might. I hoped that we had left this stuff in the 60′s and 70′s. It just took the cowardly inability to defer to a black president to encourage the mindless and exhume the festering body of intolerance.

      • NINA BARTOLETTA

        OH Please. They claim to “hate” the hand that feeds them is what they do. Did anyone notice those people standing in front of the White House with their rebel flags? You think those people work? Who else has all day to stand around on overpasses? The Baggers couldn’t survive without the federal govt!! Think about it, who else would be sending all of them their social security, disability, welfare, unemployment, child-care, food stamps, Medicaid and disaster relief checks?

        I would love to see an accurate tally of just how many people who jump on this teaparty wagon actually have a job and are taxpaying citizens. Not too many! Take a gander at a couple of their misspelled ridiculous signs and you can tell they aren’t too swift, either. A herd of sheep led by the nose by the powers that be. Im sick to death of these people and the morons they elect to bring down our country. Vote every last Republican/Teabagger ( they are one in the same) OUT in 2014. Every last one of them!

  7. Keith. What more can I say that hasn’t been said so many times before, and by so many different people (ALL of them your constituents).

    Actually, I’m so tired of reading your convoluted tea-party op-eds that I don’t even bother anymore. Granted, you have a freedom of speech just like us and if you wish to comment, go right ahead. Just quit writing your drivel from a position of authority. It’s not working. Really.

    In the 12th Congressional District you have only a 31% approval rating (and I’m surprised it’s
    that much!). But Hallelujah – There’s only 376 days until November 4, 2014 – election day. (Unless the Republican Party wises up and kicks your ass to the curb before the May 20th primary – only 208 days!). Then, thank heavens, you’ll only be a bad memory.

    I’ll say it again (for the 21st time), “I didn’t vote for you the first time and I wont vote
    for you – EVER”.

  8. Not Accepting It

    You say—- “We have an obligation to pay our bills, but when we raise the debt limit, we need to take steps to make sure we can pay those bills long into the future.”””

    Call up your good Bush buddies and collect.

    You say—-”””You don’t sign a contract to buy a car and then expect the bank to give you a loan if you are not going to be able to make the payments. Taking out a new loan without getting spending under control when you are already at your credit limit is not avoiding default, it’s delaying it.”””

    This is complete disinformation. Do you understand how financing works at all? Really, do you? Borrowing additional money doesn’t always mean that you WILL default. That’s exactly what you’re implying here.

    You say —-””In fact, Senator Reid’s abuse of the legislative process was laid bare when he chastised District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in public and told him not to “screw up” the Democrat Senate leader’s political agenda. “”””

    Ok. Lets talk about the shady way the Republicans paved the way to make it impossible for ANYONE but Boehner to call for a vote! Oh, the abuse. Because we all know how he LOVES America (just like OJ loved Nicole).

    I’m not impressed with you. And I hope that some campaign ad follows up all you say any what your fellow crazy party members say with Rand Paul’s “I don’t lie. I give misinformation.”

    • Do you understand financing? We are spending more than we are getting- THAT’s the problem. So borrowing more is stupid. There HAS to be a plan to control spending. There are so many local and state governments that are in dire straits and the federal gov’t can’t keep bailing everyone else out when the federal gov’t is broke.
      People aren’t concerned because so many people cannot control their own spending. So they’ll just file for bankruptcy or die in debt- just keep refinancing that house and when you die- the lenders lose-who cares?
      I don’t care about the Democrats or the Republicans or Teabaggers, but the greed and lack of fiscal responsibility is mind boggling and we cannot continue on the same path.

  9. Not Accepting It

    Talk to your corporations. They seem like your kind of “people” if you’re concerned about greed. Talk to the war mongers if you worry about fiscal responsibility, because they aren’t exactly cheap OR necessary.

    What would have been fiscally responsible? I’m curious. Do tell.

  10. That’s what these people never talk about, the cost of empire and tax giveaways to the top. That is what guys like Rothfus’s mission is to continue the transfer of wealth to their sponsers To rig the system. It is a waste of time to try to debate or in anyway convince them to do otherwise. The only way to rid ourselves of these leaches is to organize the vote against them.

  11. Enjoy your remaining year in office. You were an accidental congressman to begin with. If you think a majority of your district are Tea Partiers, you surely don’t know your district. Your 1st Act was “repeal the ACA” – that failed miserably. You have no 2nd act. Erin McClelland will trounce you next November.

  12. The only thing that needs “kicked” is this punks ass
    , out of office. I am so over his tea-bagger rants; it makes me embarrassed to be a Republican.

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