The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 3, 2013

Frustrated Republicans urge Boehner to find deal to end shutdown

Moderate Republicans urge vote on Senate bill. Anti-shutdown wing is growing

More than a dozen House Republicans who want to drop attempts to undermine the health-care law and reopen the government are meeting among themselves and with House Speaker John Boehner — and he's listening.

For the past few weeks, Boehner's hand has been guided by a group of tea party-aligned Republican House members who've urged little compromise in their three-year drive to undo the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Now, the agitation is coming from the other side of the caucus. A bipartisan group of about 40 House lawmakers are holding private talks to find a compromise to end the shutdown, said Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis.

At least 15 Republicans, including Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Peter King of New York, are pressing Boehner to call a vote on a Senate-passed spending bill free of Obamacare-related measures. Five of them met with Boehner before he and other congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama at the White House.

"There's a group of us — Charlie Dent, myself and other pragmatists — that are just spit-balling some ideas" to "help leadership bring an end to this," said Rep. Michael Grimm, r-N.Y.., who attended the meeting.

Boehner said after the White House session that, while "a polite conversation" took place, Obama refused to negotiate over the shutdown, signaling no movement of resolving the impasse.

According to two lawmakers who participated in the earlier gathering with Boehner, the speaker told them he wants to shift the focus to a long-term agreement to address the nation's debt that would also avoid a clash over raising the U.S. debt limit later this month. The lawmakers requested anonymity when discussing the meeting.

Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, also part of the group, said Boehner "very clearly wants a long-term resolution that puts the country on a more solid economic and financial footing."

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