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In Joint Appearance, Vermont Delegation Slams House GOP

AP/Evan Vucci
House Speaker John Boehner leaves his office on Thursday for a meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the ongoing budget fight.

In a rare joint appearance on VPR’s Vermont Edition, the state’s congressional delegation on Thursday delivered their strongest condemnation to date of the Republican Party as the cause of the government shutdown.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch met with Vermont Edition hosts Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm at National Public Radio’s headquarters in Washington. The three all had strong words about Republicans in Congress.

“They’re acting like children in a sandbox who are fighting,” Leahy said. “You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Give us some ideas how they’d fix it. The fact is, though, they don’t want to have to vote.”

Sanders, one of two Independents in the Senate, said House Republicans are trying to subvert accepted political processes.

“This is enormously anti-democratic, and essentially what these guys are trying to do is annul the election in which they lost,” he said.

Welch, known as a Democrat with many solid Republican relationships, said what’s happening in Washington is hard to imagine from a Vermonter’s point of view.

“There is something I think that Vermonters understand, and that is: You do pay your bills,” Welch said. “Just because you’ve got a problem in one place in your life, you don’t tell the bank you’re not going to pay your mortgage.”

As the federal government shutdown approaches its tenth day, leaders in Washington have shifted their focus to the debt ceiling. If lawmakers don’t take action by Oct. 17, the U.S. will default on its loans.

“Could you imagine one of our governors like Douglas or Snelling, Republican governors suggesting we don’t have to pay Vermont’s bonds? That wouldn’t happen.” Welch said.

One difficulty Vermont's delegation faces in Washington is its size with only one vote in Congress, Vermont's sway is limited in Washington, but Welch said the trio gets things done by working together:

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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