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Smith Report 10.17.2013

Let’s Talk Mr. President
The current dysfunction and gridlock in Washington frustrates families across our country and in our Eighth Congressional District. With the constant spin coming from national media outlets, the White House and congressional leaders, it’s hard to determine if any real progress is being made towards ending the government shutdown. In the four months since you elected me to be your voice in the United States House of Representatives I have continually called on my colleagues to work in regular order, pass appropriation bills and fully use the power of the purse strings given to the House of Representatives in our Constitution.
In the two weeks since congressional leaders and President Obama failed to find common ground and avoid a government shutdown, the House of Representatives has worked to fund vital and noncontroversial operations. Democrats and Republicans in the House have joined together to pass legislation that will:
• Reopen the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and all other national parks and monuments
• Restore benefits to our veterans
• Pay the National Guard and Army Reservists
• Provide relief for families impacted by natural disasters
• Fund the Food and Drug Administration
• Pay furloughed government employees
• Continue life-saving medical research
President Obama, Harry Reid and national media outlets continue to call House Republicans obstructionists. In reality, the House of Representatives is the only entity in Washington working in a bipartisan fashion to reopen the government. Harry Reid has refused to let the Senate vote on any of the funding bills the House has passed and President Obama has said he will veto any bill that comes to his desk. The President and Harry Reid are refusing to even negotiate with House Republicans.
For progress to be made, President Obama, leaders from the Senate and House leaders must sit down and start negotiating. The bipartisan government funding bills passed by the House of Representatives are a great place for negotiations to start. In our constitutional republic, we have three equal branches of government that must work together. House Republicans have shown a willingness to work with Democrats and end the government shutdown. The message to President Obama and Harry Reid is simple, let’s talk!