Rothfus discusses voting against bill to end government shutdown
Backlash arrived swiftly for Pennsylvania lawmakers, whether they voted for or against raising the debt ceiling and ending a partial government shutdown.
Minutes after freshman Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, voted against the bill on Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted him in a statement for clinging to “irresponsible, reckless dysfunction until the bitter end.”
Rothfus said on Thursday that he shares in the frustration Americans felt during the shutdown, but he wants the country to have a discussion about how to pay its bills.
He joined four other Pennsylvania Republicans — including Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville — in voting “no.” Rothfus was the only member of the House delegation from Western Pennsylvania who refused to say how he intended to vote on the package hours before it was introduced in the House.
The bill funds the government though Jan. 15 at pre-shutdown levels, expands the country's borrowing limit enough to last through Feb. 7, and forms a joint House-Senate committee to negotiate a budget by mid-December. The Senate voted 81-18 for the package. The House passed it in a 285-144 vote.
The deal did not end what Rothfus called “special treatment” carved out for members of Congress and large corporations in the Affordable Care Act. It also did not include reforms to curtail government spending while increasing the nation's debt, he said.
“Those concerns remain,” Rothfus said.
Rothfus, who represents Pennsylvania's 12th District stretching from Beaver County to Somerset County, faces re-election in 2014.
He has a primary challenger, Larry Stiles of Johnstown, who did not respond to requests for comment on the vote.
Toomey also did not disclose his vote before casting it in the Senate floor. The state Democratic Party quickly attacked him as “Tea Party Pat Toomey.”
“There has been no clearer indication that Tea Party Pat Toomey is completely out of touch with Pennsylvania,” the Democratic Party said in a statement.
Toomey said he could not support adding billions of dollars of debt without reforms to control government spending. The first-term senator faces re-election in 2016.
Conservative groups took shots at GOP House members who voted to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens said Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, disappointed his constituents by voting for the bill.
“When it finally mattered, Kelly turned around and voted to allow funding for the implementation of Obamacare to take effect. By voting to fund it, Kelly now owns Obamacare just as much as if it had been a vote to adopt it in the first place,” Mehrens said in a statement.
His office said Kelly “has never missed an opportunity to defund, delay, or repeal” the Affordable Care Act. “Any other interpretation of the congressman's record amounts to plain nonsense,” spokesman Tom Qualtere wrote in an email.
Lawmakers, regardless of their vote, might not feel the public's backlash until November.
Nearly three-quarters of registered voters would like to see most members of Congress out of office, a record-high sour mood toward incumbents, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center. Nearly 40 percent of voters do not want their own representative to return to Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Toddler found wandering alone in Bloomfield, grandmother arrested
- Reports: Actor Ford seriously injured in small-plane crash in L.A.
- Pitt instructor witnesses history in China’s ‘Wasteland’
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is planning a summer to remember
- Spring training breakdown: Yankees 2, Pirates 1
- NFL notebook: Raiders’ Jones-Drew retires; Woodley released
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Previewing the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- Penguins notebook: Road trip increases in difficulty