Government shutdown: Congressmen hopeful compromise can be reached

Photo: Johanohrling

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - On the eleventh day of the government shutdown, top lawmakers visited the White House again in hopes of a breakthrough.

President Obama spoke with House Speaker John Boehner and agreed to keep talking, so the waiting game continues. House Republicans proposed a six-week increase in the debt ceiling and would be willing to talk about reopening the government, but likely with conditions attached, and right now that's not doing anything to end the stalemate.

“I think there’s some good things going on,” says Rob Wittman (R-Va.). “All indications are that the conversations are moving forward.”

Wittman is more hopeful that a compromise between parties can be reached. So is his Virginia colleague in the House, Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

“I’m certainly more hopeful today than I was yesterday and more hopeful than the day before,” Connolly says.

Both agree the government should reopen now, but each is sticking to his respective party principles.

“We’re not going to let the country be held hostage and we’re not going to negotiate the full faith and credit in America with a gun at the White House head,” says Connolly.

“What’s the mechanism once we get things open to make sure we come together on the ideas to address the deficit and the debt and that we can functionally make that happen,” Wittman says.

While many Hill insiders point to Thursday’s meeting between top House Republicans and the president as a key to a potential compromise, so far it hasn’t translated into an agreement, either short or long-term.

On Friday, Senate Republicans met with the president, a sign that both sides are still willing to talk, but again, with no hint of a real solution for anyone.

“I want to make sure the government gets reopened. For my district, it’s absolutely critical,” says Wittman.

“Every day we see the consequences cascading. This gets worse, not better,” Connolly says.

Constituents and members of Congress continue to see their poll numbers drop the longer the shutdown and standoff continues. The threat of political backlash may ultimately be what it takes to end the standoff.

Wittman is one of a number of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle donating their pay during the standoff to charity. His money is going to help families of America’s military.

Members of Congress are planning to work throughout the weekend.