Did Washington learn anything in the aftermath of the latest budget battle and fiscal crisis?
Sen. Mike Johanns sees a remedial lesson in the aftermath of a stand-off that shut down parts of the federal government for more than two weeks and moved the nation to the brink of default.
“About, what, 15, 16, 17 years ago we learned that shutting down the government was a really bad idea. I think we re-learned that lesson,” Johanns tells reporters during a conference call.
Johanns spares any strong criticism of his fellow Republicans, but has stated repeatedly that critics of the federal healthcare law lost focus, fighting it rather than concentrating on a pathway toward reducing the nation’s deficit and, eventually the national debt.
Johanns says that while he opposes the healthcare law, it could never be undermined by shutting down the government.
Congressman Adrian Smith, a Republican, blames much of the acrimony in Congress on the heavy-handed politics by President Barack Obama and the Democrats in forcing the healthcare law to passage without a single Republican vote.
That makes Smith a big suspicious of the president’s stated desire to work with Republicans on budgetary matters.
“I need to be convinced that the president wants to bring our country together,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A country divided, perhaps says Congressman Jeff Fortenberry even more so by this latest clash.
“People are angry. It would be dishonest to say there’s no political fallout,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Fortenberry insists Republicans aren’t the only ones to suffer in the political fallout. He says this latest episode has damaged the reputation of Congress as well as the reputation of the presidency. It has undermined the public’s confidence in government, according to Fortenberry.
Sen. Deb Fischer tells Nebraska Radio Network the only way to repair the damage is for Congress to return to work.
“So, I hope what everybody has learned is, we don’t want this to be the norm.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]