Sen. Deb Fischer says there is only one way that the federal government shutdown can end, if Republicans and Democrats negotiate.
“People need to get together and talk. That’s the only way we’re going to stop this shut down and get employees back to work and that is my goal and that’s what I’m going to continue to work on,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during her weekly conference call.
Fischer, a Republican, says she is encouraged that President Barack Obama has scheduled meetings in the White House with the various factions in Congress. Fischer says it’s not helpful that Obama, a Democrat, has characterized Republican demands as threats against the economy.
And, she’s disappointed Obama has stated he will not negotiate with House Republicans.
“From my research in trying to understand this situation that we’re in, there’s always negotiation. There are always negotiations here in Washington and I think the attitude that there shouldn’t be is not helpful,” Fischer says.
Congress failed to reach agreement on a short-term spending plan by the time the new federal fiscal year began October 1st. As a result, portions of the federal government have shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been sent home.
Neither side is talking even as another federal fiscal deadline approaches. It is estimated the federal government will reach the current debt limit of $16.7 million in about a week, approximately October 17th. Forecasts of economic gloom have been prevalent as fears rise that the debt ceiling won’t be raised.
Fischer says nothing can happen on either issue unless the two sides talk.
“I think there are many issues out there where we can agree and we just need to be able to sit down and put those different options on the table,” Fischer says. “You know, in negotiations, you never know for sure what direction they’re going to go and that’s why you need to put the options on the table and you need to be open about it.”