VA Republicans at Odds with Party Leaders

Oct 11, 2013

While House Republican leaders are working to avoid defaulting on U-S debt, they’re still not offering legislation to reopen the entire federal government. Some Virginia Republicans disagree with the tactics of their party leaders.

There’s still no end in sight to the impasse keeping the government closed. Some Virginia Republicans, like Scott Rigell, are breaking ranks with party leaders over the strategy to reopen just slivers of the government.

“I do not believe this is best for our country, for the commonwealth of Virginia, certainly for Hampton Roads, and I don’t think it’s best for our conference.”

Rigell says the shutdown isn't good for the contractors and military personnel in his district who are already being pinched by sequestration.

“I don’t see that a continued pain in this way helps our country and that’s what I’m concerned about.”
Northern Virginia Republican Frank Wolf agrees. But he says it’s complicated because many Republicans think this is their best chance to tackle the causes of the nation's growing debt.

“I think the failure to deal with the entitlement issue and failure to deal with the overall debt is really leading to this controversy that we’re all going through.”

Even if it’s bad for the Republican image, most lawmakers aren’t budging. The party initially demanded a delay of the Affordable Care Act before they'd fund the whole government. Now some members are calling for entitlement and tax reform as a part of a deal. Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith says he still doesn’t know what it will take to get him to support reopening the entire government.

“There’s a whole laundry list of those. While we focused on Obamacare, if we get something else fixed that may be enough. We’ll have to see. Depends on what’s on the table.”

Griffith says once Democratic and Republican leaders start negotiating in ernest the path out may become more clear.

“There have to be things put on the table. And sometimes when you get in the room you’re looking for A and B, and while you’re chatting someone mentions C. Well you never really thought about C, but C is something you can work out on.”

Virginia Republican Congressman Randy Forbes says he’s still hoping his party can use the shutdown to gut so-called Obamacare.

“I would fund every bit of the government except the Internal Revenue Service. I’d withhold funding on Internal Revenue Service until they pulled Obamacare out of the Internal Revenue Service. That would cause Obamacare to cease.”