Op-Ed: Western Pennsylvanians Expect, Deserve Bipartisan Cooperation

keith-rothfus

Our nation faces serious challenges. Congress and President Obama must work together to reopen the federal government and address the looming debt limit. A reasonable and bipartisan solution is possible, but getting the job done requires parties to come to the table and negotiate.

Ten months ago I arrived in our nation’s capital as the new employee of 705,000 Pennsylvanians. I spent most of my working life in the private sector, which is why I am so frustrated with the squabbling inefficiency of Washington.

Before coming to Congress, I negotiated contracts. When we had a deadline, we worked until we ironed out a deal.

Western Pennsylvania families do the same. When moms and dads, brothers and sisters, parents and their children face challenges, they sit around the kitchen table, have a serious discussion, and figure things out. That is the sort of common-sense approach we need in Washington.

The House of Representatives made four separate offers to the Senate to fund the federal government and prevent a shutdown. These proposals were based on the principle that there should not be special treatment for the politically connected. All of these proposals were rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with no discussion or negotiation.

What Republicans are asking for is both simple and reasonable. We want the President to work with the House and Senate to get the job done.

While the House continues to work on a solution that will end the partial shutdown, we are taking action to reopen the federal government. Already, forty-three House Democrats have joined House Republicans to pass responsible solutions to provide immediate funding for veterans, guardsmen, reservists, pregnant women, new mothers, infants, children, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Aviation Authority, the National Institutes of Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

That’s the kind of bipartisan cooperation the American people expect.

While Republicans and Democrats have worked together in the House to pass legislation to reopen the federal government, Senator Reid continues to obstruct, and his refusal to work out our differences is the equivalent of holding the doorknob and leaning back to prevent us from opening it.

President Obama has also repeatedly refused to compromise.

This is unacceptable. The American people expect and deserve much better. President Obama and the Senate must work with the House to find solutions for the American people.

Working together in a divided government has been done before.

Our nation has had a divided government for ninety-four years of its 224-year history. Twenty-eight of forty-four presidents have led divided governments and found ways to compromise and negotiate with members of the other party to find reasonable solutions.

Congress and the President must come together once again, this time to reopen the federal government, address the debt limit, and prevent default.

I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to end this impasse and come to reasonable solutions to fund the government and address the debt limit. But, doing so requires a willing partner. Leaders in both parties need to sit down together and work out a solution.

 

32 comments

  1. jessicabattaglia022

    I think Keith Rothfus has done a good job in standing his ground and establishing some limits. I can appreciate his frustration with inefficiency after working in the private sector… I think that too much time and money is spent talking and planning… yes… talking and planning is necessary… but sometimes, you just have to jump in and do it… and figure it out from there. I do not think the House is being unreasonable in this… they are only asking for things to be fair to all.

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    • a real regular guy

      They lost…the ACA is the law…it is time to quit throwing childish temper tantrums and get on with the job he was elected to.

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      • NINA BARTOLETTA

        The House Republicans have just handed Cruz and the rest of the Teabaggerz their walking papers, they are more than losers now. Rothfus included. No more “Excess Baggage.” Yay. In fact I am reading where the GOP is now working with the Dems to rid the House of the Bagger infestation by handing the House to the Democrats next fall. I knew it, they wouldn’t let these crazies go unpunished for ruining all those long carreers in Congress!

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    • NINA BARTOLETTA

      This guy is not “bipartisan” he is simply a tool of the GOP on a local level. If these Republicans were “bipartisan” they wouldn’t be so busy trying to rig the voting districts in PA, would they? Wouldnt need gerrymandering. No excuses. That’s just a fact, they are so desperate to win they will go to ANY lengths to win, they are fine with cheating to win. Apparently a lot of voters approve of cheating to win too, so, knowing all that is true, its kind of sickening to hear anybody to sing praises to Rothfus or any Republibagger.

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    • NINA BARTOLETTA

      Anyone pathetic enough to buy into the TeaParty should know that today, with the reopening of our government, marks the beginning of the Baggerz’ demise. All the ignorant, hateful racist con-artist Baggerz with their warped sense of logic and their Confederate flags can pack up the anti-American tents and return home to their puny little shit lives, resume rocking back and forth down in their basements while hugging their guns and making some new misspelled signs for the “cause.” They will arrive right in time to collect their Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Disability, FoodStamps, Head Start, Aid for Children, etc. etc. etc. and even as they cash their checks and use their benefits they will declare they are “against” all of these because “government programs interfere” in their lives. And they will go on believing what they can’t even define or have a clue about, such as the constitution, human rights, science, education, etc. etc. etc.

      Good thing more of us prefer civilization.

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    • NINA BARTOLETTA

      Rothfus and Co. decided to shut down the government, and risk a global economic crisis, simply because they disagree with a law they couldn’t topple any other way. That was not a negotiation, it was a ransom demand. Voters will remember this.

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  2. Our national economy, much like a person, needs balance to be strong and healthy. We have lost that balance, which is clearly visible in ways that affect people’s lives every day – jobs are short, real wages are lower, our middle class is shrinking, government at all levels is getting lower tax revenue and so on.
    Not that many decades ago, “experts” told us not to worry about factories going away and those jobs lost. In their “new math,” service jobs were supposed to make up the difference. Those who questioned their logic were ridiculed as ignorant, as if one plus one could equal three if we just wished hard enough. The reality is that facts remain facts: no matter how much pundits and professors pontificate, one plus one is always going to equal two.

    So, the “new math” didn’t work, but the damage had already been done. Big retail chains had already turned to Asia and away from their own customers! Many manufacturers moved also, or simply closed.

    The truth is that a healthy economy must have a balance that includes both manufacturing and service jobs. In fact, as Asia never forgot, manufacturing has a much bigger effect than the service industry because of all the suppliers involved.

    The situation is dire, but I find that there are many suppliers of items that I had thought gone still making it right here in the USA! Many are small, family owned business where they know their employees and would never give up on our great nation! Turning this situation around will take years, but you do something real with each USA-made purchase. We create something every time we buy Made in USA. We not only help that person making it, but directly assist many of OUR people at all their suppliers!

    That is something to feel good about, and even adds up using the old math!

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  3. a real regular guy

    The Tea Party doesn’t understand how government works…..The House and the Senate both passed the ACA(Obamacare). The President signed it into law…the Supreme Court ruled it was not unconstitutional. IT IS THE LAW…The House voted 40 some times to repeal it, but repeal never passes both the House and Senate. Now, you want President Obama to negotiate with you? If this was done on every bill that approaches Congress, nothing would ever get done. OH, wait a minute…NOTHING IS GETTING DONE! The Repugs/Tea Party have threatened shutting down the government because they didn’t get their way….October 17th is approaching….China has already made noise about getting paid. Do you consider this representing your constituents? You were sent to Congress to represent the people of Western Pennsylvania…not to be a good little Kochsucker. Tell Boner to call a vote today on a clean bill, and get on with the job you were elected to do!

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  4. Read the poll numbers Keith. Your line of BS is not selling.

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    • NINA BARTOLETTA

      After Keefie’s deplorable total lack of performance on the shutdown he does not deserve to be reelected dog catcher. Get rid of ALL these deadbeats who take our taxdollars for doing absolutely NOTHING! EVERY LAST Teabagger/Republican (and some Dems as well) need to GO.

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  5. Keep it up Tea Party Keith. You’ve accomplished (besides wasting time with ACA repeals) nothing. The Tea Party is a fringe group of loons bent on destroying this country. What legislation have you and the wacko birds worked with Dems on???? Answer: nothing. You don’t know your district and I’m betting you’ll be a one termer. For the sake of your district do us all a favor and return to your cherished private sector.

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  6. Pass a clean bill please, Keith. A clean bill would be passed and signed by the “non” negotiating president.

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  7. As usual Keith Rothfus continues to try to convince us, that “he’s just like us”. (Was that him grilling burgers and walking the dog in that ad on TV last year?)

    Reading Keith’s op-eds for the past year have proved one thing – He’s NOT like us. With every op-ed he beats the same tea-party drum, no matter what the subject. I, and the usual crew of dissenters, are here every op-ed after op-ed telling Keith what we think of his musings.

    Apparently, he’s not reading comments to his articles, where the replies have been 80% to 90% negative. Folks, I don’t think he’s listening to us, or he just doesn’t care what we think.

    Well, it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. Because I didn’t vote for him the first time and I won’t vote for him…. EVER.

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    • a real regular guy

      Keith doesn’t care what the comments say…his ears of full of Tea-Party rants, being the good little Kochsucker he is…He doesn’t care because the Kochs, the Roves, and the rest are constantly telling him what a good job he is doing…….AND MONEY TALKS.

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      • NINA BARTOLETTA

        These Teabaggers, like Rothfus, are doing more damage to America than any other political group ever before unleashed upon our nation. Their irrational and delusional demands just in this shutdown fiasco is more than enough proof of just what a dangerous, unstable bunch of extremists they all are. Voters must wake up and wise up to these loons and get rid of every last one of them before they damage this nation beyond repair.

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  8. I appreciate your efforts to reach out like this. I really do. Thing is, your message is cookie-cutter. If I hear another politician mention families gathering ’round the kitchen table, I think I’ll puke.

    If you truly want bipartisan cooperation why not stand up for it? Show some real leadership and break the impasse. Seems to me you’re sitting on the bench while your party’s leadership dig you a hole. Maybe in your next Op-Ed you can drop the party template and tell us how you’ll get us out of this. “Congressman Rothfus Sits Politely and Does What He’s Told” isn’t much of a story.

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  9. Hey douchebag, please spare us the tea party talking points. All you are is a right-wing crank trying to deny the working poor health care. Next November you’ll be a goner.

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  10. Was that our tea-party congressman (ha!) Waving a confederate flag in front of the White House??? Wake up folks, tea-party Keith is a proud member of the KKK.

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  11. Wait, Keith Rothfus? The “regular guy” who wouldn’t extend the Violence Against Women Act and not once but TWICE voted against Hurricane Sandy emergency funding?

    The “regular guy” who supports the same “free trade” (globalization) that’s killing the jobs of those Western Pennsylvanian moms and dads, not just taking away that kitchen table of theirs, but also the roof over their heads?

    The same “regular guy” endorsed by “FreedomWorks”, a notorious defender of unfair Chinese trade policies that have contributed to the loss of jobs in Western Pennsylvania (and which wants to abolish Social Security)?

    The same “regular guy” who actually signed a pledge that protects tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas to places like India and China? (In case you’re keeping score, so far 44, 173 Pennsylvania jobs have been shipped overseas thanks to such unfair trade deals.)

    The “regular guy” who manipulated the political system by switching parties to become a Democrat long enough to vote in the 2002 primary election for the weaker Democrat just to (admittedly!) benefit the Republican party?

    The “regular guy” who more than once contributed to the campaign of that batshit crazy Rick Santorum?

    The same “regular guy” who claimed he was the “only” candidate to oppose both the stimulus and bank bailout funds, but apparently had no problem doing work for and billing The Bank of New York Mellon for some of its $3 billion in federal TARP funds — a bank where incidentally, his father-in-law was once a vice president (Mellon Bank)?

    The same “regular guy” who supports the creation of the so-called “Fair Tax” system that according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, would actually INCREASE taxes for the bottom 80% of Pennsylvania taxpayers by an average of $3600, while decreasing taxes for the top 5% by a whopping $45,000?

    Does Mr. Rothfus even understand the definition of “regular guy”? Methinks he needs to peek out the windows of his gilded Sewickley universe at least once in a while (maybe even — gasp! — take a little spin through downtown Ambridge!) so he can better understand what life is really like in the world of “regular”.

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    • a real regular guy

      BRAVO, Matt…love the use of the “regular” guy wording straight from his commercials….I couldn’t have said it any better. BTW, I don’t think Ambridge or Aliquippa have ever been programmed into Keith’s GPS, just Sewickley, then Beaver…the rest is just Beaver County.

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      • Thanks, man.

        I’ve been out of the area for nearly 20 years, and frankly had no idea that you guys voted a TEA PARTY guy into office.

        What happened??

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  12. a real regular guy

    What happened, Matt, is that the Koch money paid for a gazillion ads touting the “regular guy” who was local running against a Democratic politician who was from Johnstown…the Beaver County people once again voted against their own interests in favor of a “regular guy” that was local. They paid no attention to his stands on the issues or his background…just that he was local.

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  13. Dear Representative Keith Rothfus;
    The bottom is about to fall out – within 24 hours or so.

    Since YOU are MY representative in the House of Representatives I have a message for YOU that is short and simple (if YOU read this blog, which I seriously doubt):

    GET OFF YOUR DEAD ASS AND PASS THE BUDGET. NO, NOT THE TEA-PARTY JOKE BUT THE REAL ONE. YOU SIR ARE LOOKING LIKE A BIG JERK.

    Signed,
    A Pissed Off Constituent (Constituent is someone YOU supposedly represent).

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  14. Mr. Medinfo, I believe there’s something you apparently don’t understand about this new breed of hyper-partisan government representative.

    The mentality these days — regardless of level of government — is that no matter how extreme or divisive the candidate’s platform, his (or her) managing to get elected translates into a MANDATE for his or her extreme platform. Even if it means it’s “supported” by a “majority” of 32% of voters (28% who voted against, and 40% who didn’t even bother going to the polls in the first place).

    Never mind that 40 years after Roe vs. Wade, the vast majority of his constituents not only cannot remember a time when abortion was illegal (if you’re under 50 we might as well be talking about prohibition), but also have not lived through the pain of losing a mother/aunt/sister/cousin to a botched back-alley abortion, and *overwhelmingly* support the nearly half-century law of the land of safe and legal abortions. Never mind that. HIS platform is ALL abortions should be illegal, and since HE got elected, he takes it now as a MANDATE that the “majority” of constituents in his district feel about abortion as he does.

    And so it goes, right on down the punch list of his extreme political platform: abolishing Social Security … abolishing Medicaid … tax breaks for bankers and industrialists who offshore jobs (an extreme slap in the face to an ENTIRE constituency that was built for a century on the backs of “regular” mill-hunks and coal miners — who among us didn’t have a dad, uncle, or grandfather who worked his a** off in a mill or a mine?) … supporting union-busting “right to work” legislation … the list goes on and on.

    America used to have statesmen, as my grandmother used to call them, representing us. Sure, they were married to a party and had a political platform, but once elected, they put those politics on the back burner, understanding that now they represented their ENTIRE district: Democrats … Republicans … Libertarians …. Catholics … Jews … Wiccans … homosexuals … accountants … the whole lot. They were ALL his constituents, and his *mandate* was to represent the best interests of ALL of them.

    The last true statesman that I can recall offhand was Senator John Heinz. A REPUBLICAN who was not only loved by the rich and powerful, but also the “regular” guys who worked in the steel mills. Here was a man who had his own fortune, and didn’t need to make one on the backs of U.S. taxpayers, so he acted accordingly of his own conscience, considering what was best not for his personal agenda or even his party, but for the entirety of his constituency. (This is not to be taken that I believe only men of fortune should run for office: on the contrary, in recent years, it seems that greed grows exponentially these days with wealth; even with a $400 million personal fortune, we saw what a self-serving train wreck Mitt Romney was, the words out of his own mouth essentially discounting “47 percent of the country [who] pay no income tax”.)

    John Heinz was not beholden to any special interests, and represented his ENTIRE district (yes, even the ones who didn’t vote for him, few as they were).

    But those days — and those statesmen — are long gone. Now we are left with extreme partisans who think their elections were a “mandate” from their constituencies, and go into their state legislatures or Congress with their minds tightly closed and their mouths wide open, repeating their agendas over and over and over like broken records, foolishly believing that if they mouth their sanctimonious platitudes again and again and again, they will eventually beat down and win over their opposing representatives. The problem is, however, the opposition is doing the same thing.

    And so we have a Congress that doesn’t understand the meaning of “negotiation” and “compromise”. It doesn’t mean you eventually give me what I want. It means we both may have to find different paths to arrive at a mutually agreeable point that may not have been near anyone’s map.

    But as long as we have this extreme divisiveness in our government — our elected leaders not understanding their TRUE mandate to represent their ENTIRE constituencies (yes, even those with whom they disagree), our representatives will remain so polarized that it’s like trying to link together a roomful of opposing magnets: it’s something that simply will never happen.

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    • I’m not sure what you mean by saying I “don’t understand about this new breed of hyper-partisan government representative.” That is an unfair statement, since I have said the same as you (although in shorter paragraphs) in every comment I have posted for every one of Rothfus’ op-eds.

      What is it that I don’t understand?

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      • Medinfo, it was a somewhat rhetorical exercise, but only partially, because in the comment prior you appealed to Rothfus as a constituent.

        Rothfus doesn’t see you as a valid constituent. Period. His “constituency”, in his mind, are only the people who voted him into office.

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  15. Dear Keith, today the House will pass (most likely without your support) a BIPARTISAN Senate bill to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling. The ACA isn’t being “defunded” and will remain intact. After 4 years of listening to you recite the horrors of Obamacare it will remain the law of the land. Of course, you and your Tea Party anarchists, will continue to introduce multiple bills ad nauseum to repeal. You have no Plan B. You’ll go down in history as the worst federal representative Beaver County ever had. Do us all a huge favor and choose not to run for reelection. But if you do, you’ll be beaten soundly. We’re now wise to your radical antics.

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  16. At this late date and time it looks like the shutdown is OVER, UNLESS that mixed bag of nuts (Cruz, ROTHFUS, et al) manage to somehow pull the pin at the last minute and take everyone out them.

    Every few days for the past year or so, I thought they had reached the pinnacle of absurdity, only to see them outdo themselves. So, I won’t believe it’s over, until it’s OFFICIALLY over. And guess what? We get to do this all over again in a few months; because Cruz, ROTHFUS, et al, in their idiocy are determined to try again. This fight isn’t over, it’s just been postponed. Just like it has been several times in the past.

    The ONLY way to stop them is to vote them out, and that starts with “moderate” Republicans calling them out for what they are – a fringe element.

    Keith, I didn’t vote for you the first time and I won’t vote for you… EVER.

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  17. Keith, I am personally pledging the maximum allowable donation against you. I am also considering a special PAC just to have you reminded from office.

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    • Do you really think your thousand bucks or so will even make a dent against the PACs funded by billionaires like the Koch brothers?

      Do you think Keith even really cares?

      He’s probably laughing in his gilded champagne glass right now.

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  18. a real regular guy

    Well, once again Keith proves that he is not the representative from Western Pennsylvania but the representative of the big money in this country. Instead of voting to reopen the government to serve the people of this area, he voted to keep it closed down to serve the big money of the Koch Brothers. Good-bye little Kochsucker, when you run for reelection, you will have a record to run on, a record that shows you sold out the people of Western Pennsylvania in order to serve your financial backers. So long!

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