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Rep. Welch says Bipartisan House Coalition Wants To Break Budget Impasse

The Coalition, known as the “Problem Solvers”, is made up of roughly 40 House Democrats and 40 House Republicans and they’ve pledged to work together on a number of budget related issues.

Congressman Peter Welch is one of the founding members of the group that was formed in January. Welch says many of the coalition’s Republican members don’t support efforts by GOP leaders to shut the government down unless the Affordable Care Act is delayed for a year.

And Welch says there’s great concern of what will happen to the national economy if Congress doesn’t vote to extend the nation’s debt ceiling at the end of next week.

“The first time in the history of our country where we literally didn’t pay our bills I think is catastrophic,” said Welch "It will unravel the markets, there will be I think a fierce market reaction and force Congress after damage is done to do then what it should have done right away.

Welch says the 40 Republican members of the coalition face a very difficult political situation. If they side with the Democrats to get the government back open, they will almost certainly face a tough primary contest from a Tea Party challenger.

“So the political situation they are in is one of vulnerability and anxiety,” said Welch.

Welch says he remains optimistic that the budget crisis can be solved without defaulting on the national debt.

“Because we have to but it’s no way to run a railroad. But at the end of the day I think Speaker Boehner made it clear he knows we can’t default,” said Welch.  “So I’m hopeful that he’ll take this to the 11th hour but make the right decision and the right decision is putting a bill on the floor that allows us to pay our bills and turn  the lights on.”

Some House Democrats are looking at a parliamentary procedure to bring a stripped down budget bill to the floor for debate but that process could take more than a month to unfold.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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