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Gerlach Explains His Budget Vote

Congress votes to re-open the government and raise the federal debt ceiling.

U.S. Capitol Building Photo Courtesy: Architect of the Capitol
U.S. Capitol Building Photo Courtesy: Architect of the Capitol
The office of Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA6) sent the following statement to Patch in which the Congressman explains his decision to vote for the bill that ended the government shutdown late Wednesday night:

A vote to reopen government for all taxpayers, pay our bills on time

For the first time in more than two weeks, every federal employee was sent back to work this morning to do the jobs hard-working taxpayers pay them to do.

Jobs such as helping veterans qualify for disability compensation earned through tremendous sacrifice and exemplary service to our country. Reopening government means making sure businesses and contractors that provide an array of goods and services to assist our troops, build our roads, bridges and highways and keep this country running are paid for their work so that paychecks to private-sector employees are not held in limbo.

The 16-day partial federal government shutdown never should have happened. Not because I and my House colleagues want to surrender the fight to eliminate wasteful Washington spending, shrink the size and cost of government and work on real health care reform that puts patients first rather than expanding the power of the federal government. The shutdown never should have happened because it wasn't a solution -- just one more problem created by Washington.

So that's why I voted last night -- along with 284 of my House colleagues -- to reopen the federal government and pay all of our bills by passing H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Act. The President signed it into law shortly after the House vote (Roll Call #550).

This law provides discretionary appropriations to fund the federal government through January 15, 2014, and suspends the federal debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. And a House-Senate joint conference committee, led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, will immediately begin working on a federal budget, which is necessary for ending this continuous cycle of short-term budget resolutions that produce one crisis after another. In addition, this joint committee will be an opportunity to work on bipartisan solutions for overhauling our tax code to make it fairer and more pro-growth and addressing Washington's spending-driven debt addiction, which has created a toxic environment for jobs and economic opportunity.
                              
In summary, I voted for this law because it eliminates the serious risk of greater economic chaos. Chaos that threatened to wipe out retirement savings for middle-class families and make it even harder for businesses of all sizes to hire and grow. My vote does not end my work – or terminate Congress’ responsibility -- to provide relief to families facing the loss of health insurance as a result of the President's health care law or the millions of Americans reeling from watching their jobs eliminated and their hours slashed because the health care law is incentivizing a shift to a part-time workforce.

This vote does fulfill a solemn duty all elected officials have to work as hard as possible to produce practical solutions and put the interests of the people we are privileged to represent ahead of blind partisanship.

Ending the Obamacare "honor system" The law that ended the 16-day partial federal government shutdown also includes a key anti-fraud tool that could save taxpayers as much as $250 billion over the next decade.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will first have to verify that individuals qualify for an Obamacare subsidy before sending out any subsidy checks. The President and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had been planning to simply rely on the "honor system" for sending out these subsidies. The Wall Street Journal called the Administration's approach "liar subsidies."

In this op-ed published by National Review Online, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee said the push for income-verification prior to distributing subsidies was "an Obamacare battle we can win."

I supported the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, to eliminate the subsidy "honor system" and that bill passed the House last month by a vote of 235-191 (Roll Call #458).

Taxpayers work too darn hard to have the federal government issue checks based on an honor system. Demanding verification and eliminating this honor system is the right approach, and I’m glad that we took this simple step to prevent fraud and improper payments. I look forward to continue working on other sensible approaches to fighting fraud and saving taxpayers money in all areas of the federal government.  

John Q. Public October 18, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Had Harry Reid or Nancy voted with the opposition, I'd praise them for their courage. Adding trillions more debt was not good for the country, as this bill did not address government spending and debt. We've kicked this can down the road many times, with empty promises of reform, but the situation continues to deteriorate.
Barry Cassidy October 18, 2013 at 08:35 AM
yes but the situation was created. he reacted like he should. he did not create the situation. can you imagine if that bill was voted down?
John Q. Public October 18, 2013 at 08:58 AM
Yes, I can imagine non-essential workers not doing their non-essential jobs. In fact, I encourage it.
Barry Cassidy October 18, 2013 at 09:30 AM
hahaha well that is a whole other story
Kathy Wilson October 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Did you also know that the Senate added in a huge $$ bill for the dam in KY? So much for a CLEAN continuing resolution! It seems that it's okay to add stuff in when Harry Reid and Diane Feinstein want it, but not okay when the House is trying to do their constitutional job and control spending. I am for voting out all current leadership of both parties-Reid, Pelosi, McConnell, Boehner and Cantor. I've probably left out a few names.
Average Citizen October 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Barry, I seem to recall you taking quite a bit of government money over the years given out by the same "non-essential" government employees that were put out of work during this shut down but hahaha well that is a whole other story. #hypocrtite.
Average Citizen October 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM
This whole article could be summed by Gerlech simply saying "I am a Republican from a moderate District where I barely held my seat against a total stiff during the last election cycle so I had to distance myself from the tea party nuts". That is really all it is. He could care less about the people or "doing the right thing" and the only job he is interested in saving/creating is his own. #a political move.
Barry Cassidy October 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM
hey average. recapture money. if it doesn't go to us it goes somewhere else. #whatfoolbelieves
Average Citizen October 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Hey Barry, for you to joke about "non-essential" government employees when they paid your bills for many years is just a dic move. Enough said. Good luck with your latest venture working for Mr. Big. #Poor taste and judgement especially considering online comments cost you your last job (taking government money). Peace.
Average Citizen October 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Kathy Wilson - It was Mitch "tea party" McConnell who pushed to get the damn (pun intended) for his home state put in the deal. As for your plan to "vote out all current leadership of both parties-Reid, Pelosi, McConnell, Boehner and Cantor" You have no ability to do that as none of them represent PA. The best you can do is vote out the Republicans running in 2014. If enough of them go, you will see a change in leadership. While both parties share blame, anyone voting for a Rebublican beyond the local level needs to educate themselves (no Fox News and Rush Limbaugh don't count).
Jackson in Charlestown October 18, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Too little. too late.
Ned October 18, 2013 at 03:40 PM
He did the right thing. I'm a democrat and I'll vote for him.
Pat Campbell October 18, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Ned -- that's exactly the kind of response we need. Gerlach was doing his job -- putting the best interests of the country ahead of partisan power grabbing. What do Ted Cruz and Barack Obama have in common? Neither one has ever had a job where they had to make decisions and negotiate outcomes. Where they had to GET ALONG. Both of them are used to having an idea that people follow. Government is about the hard job of working together, making compromises to get some of what you want in exchange for some of what the other guy wants. This did NOT allow for more debt. This is like a credit card. We had already made the purchases that put us over our limit....increasing the limit only gets the bills paid. If the conservatives want to cut spending and repeal Obamacare, they better figure out a way to get elected...because this little stunt ignoring the will of the MAJORITY (we live in a Majority Rule country) has cost the Rs a boatload of seats. WHY? Because someone like Gerlach who voted to fund the government will now face a Tea Party candidate in the primary -- and might lose to that candidate when only Republicans are voting -- but that crazy R that emerges will get stomped by the D, who will seem almost moderate compared to the Ted Cruz mentality. There is an original local Tea Party rebel running for Tredyffrin School Board in November....sounds mellow....make sure he has a history of getting along and going along, and not just of getting his own way (or whining until he does)
Average Citizen October 18, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Ned, if you are a Democrat and vote for Gerlach (unless the Dems run another complete stiff) you are part of the problem. Gerlach didn't do the "right thing", he did what was most politically prudent for himself as he knows he has to run again in 2014 in a moderate district. Otherwise he has voted lock step with the right wing extremist during his terms in office and will continue to do so if re-elected (unless the political winds change and he needs to do a quick turn about just to pretend to be moderate). Do some homework on this guy before deciding he is a "hero" for casting a self centered vote. If he had any balls, he would have publically spoke out against the tea party weeks ago before the shut down.
Lani Frank October 18, 2013 at 07:38 PM
What you are all forgetting is that GERLACH voted TO SHUT DOWN the government in the first place. He only voted to open it after he had a change of heart as the polls were showing what a bad decision it was to have shut it down. So he gets no brownie points from me, and any Democrat who votes for him needs to understand that 99% of the time Gerlach votes with his party for all the wrong reasons. So, if you want more divided government holding us hostage, go ahead and reelect these cowardly Republicans who get their healthcare paid for by WE THE PEOPLE
Barry Cassidy October 18, 2013 at 07:59 PM
lani...but in the end he stood up to the nuts.
Lani Frank October 18, 2013 at 08:41 PM
But in the beginning he was one of the nuts and no one should be fooled by his change of position. As when he was in the minority and his vote didn't matter, he voted moderate, but as soon as he was in the majority and his party needed his vote, he voted 99% with his party. He is NO MODERATE and should not be mistaken as such. He need to be be unseated and we need to get a Democrat into that seat, ASAP
Jenna Reese October 18, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Gerlach is just another lobbyist owned politician...none of them care about the people....They all showed their true colors when they voted themselves exempt from illegalcare. As for those bashing the Tea Party, last time I looked , fiscal responsibility, limited govt, free markets and fidelity to the Constitution was the America I grew up in. I don't recognize this country anymore. The goal of the current political sewer, both sides, is to destroy the middle class, the economy, all in the name of social justice and the bringing about the New World 'Order - Big business and Wall Street and the govt are all in bed together...and now there will be no alternatives...Big govt is a drug cartel....feeding the sheeple with the heroin of govt hand-outs not because they give a damn about the people...it's just the opposite. . right Jim? Tell us about property rights Jim and what you are not doing to preserve them.
RosiesDad October 19, 2013 at 08:03 AM
Gerlach is a jellyfish. A so-called moderate Republican (because over half his district is made up of Dems and Indies) who goes as the wind blows. If he had a spine, he would have stood up with Charlie Dent BEFORE the government shutdown happened and voted against the insanity of the Tea Party faction of the GOP. Or he would have stuck to his guns and continued to vote with the TP. But he wafts in the wind, doing what is expedient to protect his own career. But he has voted with the Tea Baggers again and again to repeal Obamacare (something that will not happen as long as there are not 60 Republicans in the Senate and a like minded Republican in the White House). Until he saw that the winds were changing and then he voted for the Senate bill. "To do the right thing" as he says. Please. As to the debt ceiling: Voting not to raise it is akin to going to a restaurant (with a party of 20), racking up a huge bill on an enormous meal and then deciding you aren't going to pay the check when it is presented. Once again, this is INSANITY, and yet there is a faction in the GOP that thinks that this is NO PROBLEM. If these people worked in private industry, they would have all been summarily dismissed for dereliction of duty. Gerlach included.
Jenna Reese October 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM
When a manic-depressive spends money he does not have, you take away the credit card. You don't increase his spending limits. As for the Tea Party bashers, you like the right to own your home? Choose the neighborhood you want to live in? Attend church, synagogue etc. if you desire? Buy a car? Have your children educated as you see fit? To choose your own destiny? To get the medical care you need and can afford? Equal justice under the law? You obviously have no idea where progressives are taking you. And, most importantly, they are counting on that very fact. Right Jim?
Average Citizen October 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM
Jenna, yes Obama and "liberals" are now choosing the neighborhood I want to live in? Attend church, synagogue etc. if I desire? Buy a car? Have my children educated as you see fit? To choose your own destiny? Sigh. You sound mentally ill and should seek some help. Seriously get some help before you ruin your life completely. The only thing you got right is the Obama and Democrats HAVE made sure that people can get the medical care they need and can afford. I don't care about some website crashes. In the end it is good law that will help millions.
Lani Frank October 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Jenna-the time to discuss priorities for spending is when there are budget negotiations, which by the way have been stalled by the Gerlach and his Leader Boehner. Not after we incur the debt. The DEBT limit is a misnomer. We have already incurred the debt the HOUSE threatened to prevent the government from paying. All the debt we now have did not occur under this President. GWB spent trillions on a war that was never paid for, and a Medicare Prescription Drug program that costs the citizens plenty, with NO volume discount!!! So much for fiscal restraint. So stop bashing and talking about things you hear on FOX. They are lying to you and you should do some research yourself to determine the truth. Yes the Democrats want to help those who cannot help themselves-sounds Christian to me, and the Republicans only want to cut off food stamps to the working poor, keep them from getting health care, but forcing them to go to Emergency rooms to get the most expensive care, which we all then pay for. So try to open your mind and see the truth. And get some help for all that HATE you have bottled up. It is not healthy.
RosiesDad October 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Jenna: You clearly are confused. But I enjoy the rant because you manage to conflate so many things, I am certain by the end of it, you were more confused than when you started. But I'll bet that you have spent your adult lifetime voting for the politicians who are responsible for most of this nation's debt. Do you remember that the nation's debt was under a trillion dollars before the Sainted Reagan took office and tripled it? Do you remember the CBO projections of a $5T surplus over the coming decade when George W. Bush took office? Mr. Gerlach was in Congress as part of the House majority that took this projected surplus and turned it into $5T in actual new debt. And enacted policies that would ensure a mountain of debt over the decade(s) to come. This isn't a progressive problem. Just sayin'...
Jenna Reese October 26, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Average - here's your healthcare. If you are between the ages of 14-40 you'll get it, that is if the gov't considers your contribution to society meets certain criteria. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203706604574374463280098676
Jenna Reese October 26, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Here Lani, read up http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/the-way-we-see-itour-blog.html
RosiesDad October 26, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Jenna: Do you buy those tin foil hats in "one size fits all" or do you make your own at home while you're sitting around watching Hannity? Agenda 21 conspiracy theory indeed. Heh.
JK October 27, 2013 at 08:40 AM
Jenna - move on because they don't get it and it's a waste of your time. When the opposition starts the personal attacks you can realize you won. There are many people that are awake like you.
Jenna Reese October 27, 2013 at 09:42 AM
JK , yes, thank-you for the reminder. I suppose I remain naively hopeful but you are right, when someone can't discuss, even argue something without the personal attacks, it usually means one of several things: -atrophy of the mind -fear and a shaky internal foundation -openminded-ness to the extent all brain matter has fallen out -intolerance of diversity in the realm of ideas and possibilities -lack of education -reading "Rules for Radicals" instead of "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People" Thanks JK
Jp October 27, 2013 at 09:58 AM
Jenna, you seem to be the only intelligent person in Phoenixville! They believe listening to the Fed bought mainstream media is the truth. I actually read the news from multiple sources. The new healthcare law has doubled my deductible, but from what I hear it will help millions!
Frances Stein October 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Jp: Was the mainstream media "Fed bought" when Bush was president?

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