During my first nine months in office, three issues repeatedly have been raised by the constituents of the 4th Congressional District. First, they want us to hold Washington accountable and deal with its nearly $17 trillion debt. Second, after meeting with many health care professionals, small businesses and citizens, almost no one has any idea what the implementation of Obamacare will look like. Finally, everyone wants Congress to work together and focus on making our economy health again.
I didn't run for Congress to shut down the federal government. I ran for Congress because I'm worried that the America I help pass on to my two daughters will be weaker than the one I and other Americans of my generation inherited. Dozens of constituents, regardless of political affiliation, have shared that same concern with me.
We're nearly $17 trillion in debt. If we keep going like this we will bankrupt programs like Social Security and Medicare. We can't keep spending money we don't have.
At the same time, countless small business owners have told me they'll have to stop hiring, cut hours and cancel pay raises because their health insurance premiums are expected to skyrocket under Obamacare. And they can't even begin to understand the new regulations with which they're forced to comply. So I listened to their concerns and sought to defund or delay Obamacare.
Look at your own household budget. My guess is your income has remained flat, while your health care and other costs keep going up. Another guess is that many of your family and friends are in the same boat, if they're lucky enough to still have a full-time job. Does anyone think the status quo is working?
So House Republicans listened to the people we serve and went to work. We proposed common-sense solutions to control spending on the fastest-growing parts of our budget, grow our economy and create opportunity for all Americans, while reducing government regulation of small businesses and our healthcare.
We knew that President Obama and Senate Democrats would have their own priorities. So we put our cards on the table and sent these bills to the Senate, waiting for them to pass their own versions so we could eventually come together to try and find some common ground. In nearly every case, our proposals were met with silence.
President Kennedy once said, "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." When we have a disagreement in our homes, we sit down with our family members and talk about how to address the issue. That's exactly what we're asking from Harry Reid and the Senate.
Instead of pretending there's not a problem and just putting more money on the national credit card, why not sit down and negotiate for a common-sense solution to our $17 trillion national debt?
The last thing I want is a government shutdown. Right now, 800,000 federal employees are on furlough and many needs of our citizens are not being met. In the last few days, House Republicans tried to comprise on numerous occasions and received the same answer: "We will not negotiate." The House continues to try and resolve this disagreement, but without a willing participant on the other side it's impossible to move forward.
Rather than refusing to negotiate and comparing Republicans to suicide bombers, as one of President Obama's senior advisors did last week, the president and Senate Democrats should work in good faith with the House to keep the government open and work together to control our spending and lay the groundwork for a healthy economy.
I'm here and ready to work until we re-open the federal government, reduce our unsustainable debt and get America moving again. And I won't take another paycheck until we get that job done.
-- Scott Perry is a Republican representing York County in the 4th Congressional District.