The Fine Print
At a time when compromise is hard to come by on Capitol Hill, Leonard Lance is part of a small contingent of Republicans in Congress trying to reach a deal that could break the impasse that has led to the government shutdown.
“I don't think this has been beneficial to any of us who serve on Capitol Hill, and I don't think it's been beneficial to the president down Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House,” Lance, R-N.J., told “The Fine Print” of the ongoing shutdown.
Lance, who prefers to characterize himself as a “fiscal conservative” rather than “moderate,” is supporting a proposal to fund the government in exchange for the repeal of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that taxes medical devices.
“I have supported a proposal by Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., to fund government and to repeal the medical device tax, which I think is an eminently sensible proposal,” he said.
Lance initially supported a clean bill to fund the government in the early days of the shutdown, before recently deciding to sign on to the Kind-Dent proposal. There have been reports of Republican leadership calling on members to drop their support for a clean bill, but Lance said he was “absolutely not” pressured into changing his position.
“A group of us met privately with Speaker Boehner, and I indicated I wanted to be supportive of the proposal of Congressman Kind and Congressman Dent,” Lance said. “He had no objection to that … and I think Speaker Boehner is trying to reach a position where we will fund the government, [and] where we will not default on our debt. He has indicated repeatedly he does not want to default on the debt.”
Despite the divisions within the Republican Party over what the terms should be for reopening the government, Lance insisted that the party is united in its desire to move forward on a compromise with the White House and Democratic-controlled Senate.
“I think the president should come to the negotiating table, and presidents from the past - including Dwight Eisenhower, at least, on forward - have come to the negotiating table on the debt ceiling,” Lance said.
For more of the interview with Lance, including what he has to say about the upcoming debate over the debt ceiling, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC’s Alexandra Dukakis, Mark Rabin, and David Girard contributed to this episode.