VPR: Welch Wants Moderate Republicans To Build Coalition With Democrats
By Bob Kinzel
Congressman Peter Welch says he's concerned that current leadership battle among House Republicans could result in the shutting down of the federal government in December.
To avoid this possibility, Welch is calling on a group of moderate Republicans to build a coalition with many Democrats to help elect the next Speaker of the U.S. House.
Welch says a relatively small group of conservative House Republicans, perhaps a total of no more than 40 members, is responsible for the leadership struggle in Washington.
Welch says there are just enough people in this group to make certain that no GOP candidate for Speaker will be able to receive a majority of votes without the help of some Democrats.
Welch says this wing of the GOP caucus wants to shut down the federal government because they strongly oppose efforts to raise the nation's debt ceiling and they want to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
The group has forced House Speaker John Boehner to step down and it's undermined the candidacy of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to replace Boehner.
Welch says the current situation is unacceptable and that it's time for moderate Republicans to take back control of their caucus.
"There's a group here that's been empowered and emboldened and it is on the Republican side that feels entitled to shut the government down and default on our obligations if they don't get their way," Welch said.
There is an easy solution to this problem, Welch says, "that is to go back to the good old fashioned compromise and cooperation. You know there's a lot of Republicans who are really upset about what's going on and they it's bad for their party but more importantly they know it's bad for the country."
Welch would like some of his Democratic colleagues to reach out to moderate Republicans in an effort to build a bi-partisan coalition in the House.
"I have heard some Republicans say that they think there should almost be a coalition or cooperation with Democrats and I like that idea. Some of my colleagues thinks we ought to just stand aside and watch the Republicans have this fight but bottom line I think it's really important that we get this place operating," he said.
Welch says he's concerned that the future of a long term transportation bill could be at stake if this GOP leadership issue is not resolved in the near future.