U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner is working with five other House Republicans on a deal that would put an end to the federal government shutdown.
“We spent all day (Wednesday) talking to dozens of members of Congress, Senate members and House leadership, to come up with a plan that would cut spending, put in place comprehensive tax reform, lower the rates and put in entitlement reform,” Gardner said in a telephone interview Thursday from Washington, D.C. “We call this an honest proposal. It’s an honest proposal about where we are as a country with too much debt, too much spending. It’s honest about what we have to do for our children, and to give them a country that is prosperous. There are various groups around the House that are all talking about different plans and ideas. This is one of the many that we’re trying to sort of inject into the water table so that we can have a conversation about getting these big problems solved.”
The second-term Congressman from Yuma, who represents Weld County in the 4th Congressional District, said when he talks about elements of the plan that would cut Obamacare and delay the individual mandate, he’s seeing more of a push back.
“That’s important things that we have to do,” Gardner said. “Part of the cuts that we would like to look at would be things like the medical device tax, and perhaps I’d like to see a delay in the individual mandate as part of this, and effectively delay Obamacare.”
The medical device tax is a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of certain medical devices by the manufacturer or importer of the device.
“What’s so important about this is the framework that it sets, a three-year framework so that we’re not constantly in this repeat cycle of shutdown debt,” Gardner said. “This actually bends the cost curve down, sets this country on a path to a balanced budget and provides certainty for businesses.”
Included in the deal would be cutting the federal budget by $223 billion before Dec. 31.
“There’s about roughly $400-plus billion dollars worth of spending cuts that the president even agrees to in his own budget, so those are cuts we know we can make today,” Gardner said. “There’s a lot of mandatory spending, some discretionary spending, but we’ve got to make those cuts, lock those in now and continue with additional spending cuts next year as we put in place comprehensive tax reform and entitlement reform.”
Gardner said the other part of the framework is that it would lock in the budget getting done every year. “I think that is critical as well, so instead of having this breakdown of the appropriations process which led us to where we are today, it actually forces the House and Senate to agree on passing a budget, and if they don’t, then we end up right back where we are today at Dec. 31, 2013, spending levels,” Gardner said.
Gardner said a floor vote on a “clean” continuing resolution that would keep the money flowing wouldn’t solve the problems.
“A clean CR would put us exactly where we are today,” Gardner said. “Six months from now, or six weeks from now, we end up in the exact same situation we are today and that’s this repeat cycle of a broken process that we’ve got to fix. So, let’s put in place a framework to grow the economy, cut spending, reform entitlements and put it in place for the next three years.”