Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer
October 15, 2013
Two days before the U.S. reaches its debt ceiling, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx announced today House Republicans are working to pass a bipartisan solution to end the shutdown and raise the federal borrowing limit.
House Republicans “will likely offer legislation today that will reopen government, (and) ensure all of America’s bills are paid,” Foxx said in an interview with the Jefferson Post.
If successful, the deal would avert funding cuts to social services for the elderly and working poor announced by the Ashe County Department of Social Services Oct. 7, including Work First, the Crisis Intervention Program and Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and childcare subsidies.
Asked if suspension of these programs could be harming low-income constituents as House Republicans work to delay the Affordable Care Act, Foxx said, “Why are all these things the role of the federal government?”
“I would urge people to read the Constitution. The federal government has intruded on the lives of the people,” she said.
“Republicans are doing all we can to ease the pain of the shutdown. The president hasn’t taken them up,” she said.
In a series of compromise proposals by the House this month, Foxx voted to reopen national parks, restore pay for National Guardsmen and military reservists, and restore funding to FEMA, the FDA, the WIC nutrition program and Head Start.
“To date, the Senate hasn’t sent a single bipartisan proposal to the (House) related to the shutdown. The House has sent more than 15,” she said.
“It would have been a good faith effort to fund some of these,” she said.
The House’s compromise bill today will also include a two year hold on “the wildly unpopular Obamacare medical device tax,” and “ensure members of Congress don’t get special help to pay for Obamacare that isn’t available to the rest of the country,” Foxx said.
“The American people have made it clear they don’t like Obamacare,” she said.
Asked if House Republicans shouldn’t let the ACA fail on its own if it is bad policy, Foxx said, “I do think the ACA is crashing and burning (but) it’s not getting attention because of the shutdown.”
“What needs attention is the unfairness…the exemptions by the president. Why is it fair to exempt certain people from the ACA and not others?” she said, adding that the Declaration of Independence set down the principle that “all men are created equal.”
Members of Congress are exempt from ACA, Foxx said. “We don’t think that’s fair. We should go into the exchanges like everybody else.”
“The president admits there are problems with the ACA. Why not delay it for everybody?” she said.
The public will learn more about the failures of the ACA when the shutdown is lifted, Foxx said.
Foxx downplayed the debt ceiling crisis as a “red herring” by the Obama administration, saying, “There’s no reason to default. The U.S. has to pay $223 billion in interest this year. Our total revenues from taxes are $2.8 trillion.”
Asked if the government could, in just a few days and during a shutdown, juggle its accounting to pay creditors after having its credit cut off, Foxx said the The Prioritize Spending Act, passed earlier this year, would prevent the U.S. from going into default, even if the debt ceiling is breached.
“We have to come to grips with what is creating this cliff every year. We raise the (debt) ceiling continuously. Why is that?” she said.
“What are the drivers of the debt? We borrow 42 cents for every dollar we spend. Medicare, Medicaid and other programs are on autopilot,” she said.
“Fifteen days into a government shutdown and days before reaching the national credit limit, it’s past time for bipartisan solutions to reopen government, restore services to North Carolinians, and defend America’s credit rating,” Foxx said.