We are entering day 10 of the government shutdown and it does look like there are beginning to be signs of movement on a possible short-term deal. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented a 6-week deal to the GOP Caucus yesterday, which would reopen the government and increase the debt ceiling. In return for these concessions the Republicans would be seeking a timetable on reforms to entitlement programs. A deal has not been made, but it looks like several proposals are being considered again today. One such proposal would be the 6 week deal mentioned above. The other is a short-term deal raising the debt ceiling, but not re-opening the government. There are still some members of Congress who believe they can tie changes to the Affordable Care Act through this route.
We see this shutdown time as an opportunity to really highlight critical issues you face ranging from; a need to create a long-term transportation solution; to ensuring that benefits you earned on the job are protected and there for you when you retired; to ensuring the government procurement system doesn’t become a system that only allows a small few to compete for opportunities; to modernizing outdated technology regulations that prohibit hospitals and doctor’s offices from effectively and efficiently communicate with their patients; to offering new ideas to strengthen the healthcare system through new innovate payment methods; to ensuring no one special interest has control over how transit agencies operate and spend their budgets.
All of these are critical issues and we believe there is continued opportunities for us to make these points, even during the shutdown. The congressional window of opportunity is small this year with only about two months left in the session, but we do believe that we need to keep pressing forward or get left behind once things start getting back to “normal.”