Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) is making national news this week as he seeks to make himself the face of moderate Republicans. He thinks the House of Representatives should abandon efforts to defund or delay Obamacare and pass a ‘clean’ continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
“I’ve made it clear to them that it was time to bring it up, that a number of us want this brought up and it must happen,” Dent told the Allentown Morning Call. “There is no time for another volley. I’m not interested in backing another play, we’re past that now.”
The Senate voted Friday to strip the House-passed CR clean of it’s provisions for a defunded Affordable Care Act. In response, the House passed an updated CR containing a provision to delay Obamacare by one year. The Senate is expected to once again strip the bill clean Monday, which leads to the question of what the House will do after that happens.
President Obama has threatened a veto of any measure that tinkers with his signature healthcare law and has refused to negotiate with Republicans.
Dent seems to think that members of his party would be willing to vote to pass a stripped CR from the Senate, after failing to defund or delay Obamacare twice.
“A shutdown would be completely unnecessary and reckless,” Dent said. “We’ve been talking among ourselves, I know the votes are there to pass a clean continuing resolution.”
His calls aside, Dent has voted in lockstep with party leadership thus far. He voted to pass the delay of the Affordable Care Act with their bill Friday.
“I oppose shutting down the government,” Dent said in a statement then. “I am also deeply concerned about the impending implementation of the Health Care Law – Obamacare – with exchange enrollment beginning on Tuesday. The House recently attempted to defund Obamacare. While I oppose the Health Care Law, I had concerns about the defunding tactic, but wanted to get a government funding bill (Continuing Resolution) to the Senate for action. The Senate then acted, as was expected, and voted to strike the defunding provision.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Dent said that he believed if House Speaker John Boehner allows a vote on the Senate’s latest CR, due sometime after 2 p.m. today, that House Republicans would join with Democrats to pass the resolution and keep the government funded.
“I believe most House Republican members would be okay with John Boehner if he were to decide to allow a vote,” Dent said. “It would pass with a strong bipartisan vote.”