It appears both sides in the fiscal dispute that led to the shutdown of the federal government are more interested in placing blame than finding a resolution.
Sen. Mike Johanns says it doesn’t really matter who is to blame, adding that the blame game ultimately gets the country nowhere.
“It won’t be any conciliation for me to go back home and say, ‘You know, I’ve been in Washington for five years and I figured out who’s at fault.’ Nobody wants to listen to that. They just want their government to work,” Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during his weekly conference call.
No one wins the blame game, according to Johanns.
“I personally believe that a shutdown is a failure and everybody is to blame.”
Congress couldn’t resolve differences in a dispute over a continuing resolution to keep the government funded into the new fiscal year that began on Tuesday.
Republican leaders in the House proposed tying the resolution to stripping funding from the federal healthcare law. When Democrats in the Senate rejected that, Republicans in the House approved a resolution that called for a delay in enforcement of the mandate in the healthcare law that individuals must buy health care. Democrats have rejected that as well.
President Barack Obama has refused Republican efforts to link funding the federal government with negotiations over the health care law. He has blamed Republicans for the shutdown and called on them to approve a funding resolution without conditions.
Johanns, a Republican, says the battle between Republicans and Democrats isn’t the problem.
“I don’t mind the battles, but I do believe you’ve got to sit down and battle it out. And that’s what I see absent here. That’s why this is different.”
Fellow Republican, Sen. Deb Fischer, says President Obama and his fellow Democrats must begin negotiations with House Republicans.
“We need to be talking and we better be talking with each other,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during her conference call. “The Constitution doesn’t allow the Senate to pass a budget by itself. Neither can the House. That means we actually have to stop blaming each other and start talking to each other.”
Fischer says she was encouraged when the president invited Congressional leaders to the White House to discuss funding the federal government. Nothing came of the meeting, though.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]