Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 1, 2013

Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

In a conference call, Rokita said calls to his Washington, D.C. office and district offices were in favor of the government shutdown by about 60-40. In August, he met with more than 2,500 Hoosiers at town hall meetings, most of whom implored him to stand against the health-care legislation and overall federal government largess.

“It’s hurting our children and grandchildren, especially the ones that don’t yet exist,” Rokita said. “A child born today has $50-$60,000 worth of this country’s debt assigned to him. It’s simply unsustainable.”

Rokita did vow to continue attempting to negotiate with President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled senate. However, he said a meeting Tuesday morning was only attended by about half of those expected.

“When you have serious disagreements, the way out of them is to talk, to negotiate,” Rokita said. “I don’t understand why, if this is that serious, sitting together in a conference is unimaginable by the president. Any leader of any type would see the value in that. This president doesn’t.”

Rokita added the government shutdown has affected his office too. For now he’s rotating staffers on a daily basis, sending them home without pay. As for his own salary, he’s not following some other congressmen who are voluntarily giving up theirs until this is resolved because he thinks that sends the wrong message.

“I’m doing my job,” Rokita said. “I’m doing exactly what Hoosiers want me to do, and that is fighting out-of-control growth and spending of the federal government — exemplified most recently by Obamacare.”

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