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Letter: Brokering A Compromise

There’s a lot of blame and finger pointing for the recent federal government shutdown. Today I’m offering a common-sense solution.

Originally, House Republicans, who are in the majority, offered a resolution to temporarily continue governing operations. It had two conditions: 1.) Fund the government at a level that many Democrats felt was insufficient; and 2.) Defund and delay the Affordable Care Act (known to many as Obamacare). I could not support both of those conditions, particularly using a shutdown of the federal government to effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Now I have been advancing a common-sense compromise that would reopen the federal government immediately. We should vote on a budget that agrees to the original funding level proposed by Republicans, but does not defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act. This extension would give us the time to negotiate long-term budget issues while keeping our government open.

If you are on the far right, you will disagree with me that we should not defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you are on the far left, you will disagree with me that we should accept, even temporarily, the Republican-proposed budget levels. However, I believe that most people whom I represent do not want to use the Affordable Care Act to shut down services they are paying for with tax dollars, and they expect that I will work hard and responsibly to keep the government open while negotiating our differences.

I believe that there are enough votes in Congress today to pass this compromise immediately. I have urged Republican Speaker John Boehner to just bring it to a vote. People can vote for it or against it, but we owe the American people a vote.

Steve Israel

U.S. Congressman 3rd District