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Virginia Republicans Divided On End To Government Shutdown

Opinions on an end to the shutdown vary widely, even from within the Capitol.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Opinions on an end to the shutdown vary widely, even from within the Capitol.

While House Republican leaders are working to avoid defaulting on U.S. debt, they're still not offering legislation to reopen the entire federal government. Some Republicans in the region disagree with the tactics party leadership have used.

There's still no end in sight to the impasse keeping the government closed. Some Virginia Republicans, like Congressman Scott Rigell, are breaking ranks with party leaders over the strategy to reopen just slivers of the government.

"I do not believe this is best for our country, for the commonwealth of Virginia, certainly for Hampton Roads, and I don't think it's best for our conference," Rigell says.

Northern Virginia Republican Congressman Frank Wolf agrees. But he says it's complicated, because many Republicans think this is their best chance to tackle the causes of the nation's growing debt.

"I think the failure to deal with the entitlement issue and failure to deal with the overall debt is really leading to this controversy that we're all going through," Wolf says.

Even if it's bad for the Republican image — as polls are showing — most rank and file lawmakers aren't budging. Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) says he still doesn't know what it will take to get him to support reopening the entire government.

"There's a whole laundry list of those. While we focused on Obamacare, if we get something else fixed that may be enough," Griffith says. "We'll have to see. Depends on what's on the table."

Virginia Republican Congressman Randy Forbes says he's still hoping his party can use the shutdown to gut Obamacare.

"I would fund every bit of the government except the Internal Revenue Service," says Forbes. "I'd withhold funding on Internal Revenue Service until they pulled Obamacare out of the Internal Revenue Service. That would cause Obamacare to cease."

Republican Rob Wittman is a part of the block of Virginians calling for a short-term bill to reopen the entire government. But he's not sure if calls from him and other lawmakers in the region will work.

"Have no idea. No idea. Obviously we need to have the shutdown stop as soon as possible," Wittman says.

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