Add Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen to the GOP House members ready to cut a deal with Democrats, and possibly water down or drop their demand to block Obamacare to keep the government open. The following is a lightly edited transcript of an interview on Tuesday.
Q: Who is going to shoulder the blame for this shutdown?
A: We’re all going to shoulder some of the blame. I took some calls myself in the office. We had about 100 calls in D.C., about 60 in Minnesota. People obviously are saying, “Hey, the government doesn’t need to be shut down.” “Why is this happening?” A handful say, “Stay strong.” It’s a little bit of a mix … The bottom line is it’s not good to have a government shutdown, folks expect government to work …
Q: What’s the exit strategy?
A: Now we’re relegated to seeing what we can do behind the scenes, because the leaders aren’t talking like they should. That’s what I’m doing … (cites discussions with Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Ron Kind).
Q: Is there a way out besides putting off Obamacare?
A: There is an opportunity where there are Democrats that have indicated that they might support some delays of some components of the health care law, particularly around the individual mandate. However, the one vote that has garnered the most bipartisan support was repeal of the medical device tax. … If we can look at some ideas there, maybe that will break up the logjam.
Q: Can you see yourself voting for a “clean” funding resolution to get the government running again?
A: I will look at anything that comes in front of me to end the impasse, because we do need to put an end to it.
Q: Including a “no-conditions” measure, just simply keep the government open?
A: Yup, I will look at anything that comes in front of me to end the impasse.