Congress must 'find a bipartisan way out' of shutdown, Swalwell says

Congressman hosts town hall to discuss government shutdown

According to Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), Congress has been "taken hostage" by a handful of Republicans who want President Obama's signature healthcare program, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), defunded before a budget will be passed. The resulting shutdown of the government, he said, is harmful to the US economy and its citizens, and might keep the government from paying its bills on time.

About 125 people came out on relatively short notice to hear about what is happening in the nation's capital, and how Swalwell and his colleagues plan to end the shutdown. Swalwell decided to fly home for 24 hours because there were no votes Sunday and, "I wanted to update people on what is happening," he said. "We are getting so many calls, Facebook posts and Tweets. I felt it was good to come home."

Addressing some of his 15th Congressional District constituents at a town hall meeting Sunday in the Dublin City Council Chambers, Swalwell said the shutdown is costing the country an estimated $300 million a day and affecting more than just the federal workers and people who want to visit national parks or monuments.

But, Swalwell stated, the Affordable Care Act has to be taken off the table because, "Tying the Affordable Care Act to how you budget the federal government can set a bad precedent."

Seats in council chambers were filled by people concerned about what will happen on Oct. 18 if there is no increase in the debt ceiling, which is dependent on a funding bill being passed, and by residents who stand behind the group of Republicans who are demanding defunding of the ACA.

Some of the affected federal workers were also in the audience. Swalwell said some of the 2.1 million federal employees who are furloughed or forced to work without pay are his constituents, and they are telling him they are filing for unemployment and asking debtors such as mortgage companies to delay payment.

"But payments don't get furloughed," Swalwell said. "It's a stressful time for federal employees."

Swalwell pointed out the shutdown is also affecting veterans, first-time homebuyers and the Realtors who represent them, because the federal offices that provide documents and services are not being staffed.

"This effects real people," the Congressman said. "Our goal is to end the shutdown."

Other government shutdowns have occurred over how money was budgeted, not whether a program that has been signed into law will be defunded, or eliminated, Swalwell added. Allowing the ACA into the equation this time was set an "awful, awful precedent."

"The president is standing firm and the Senate is standing firm," Swalwell said. "They will negotiate budget numbers, but the Affordable Care Act is off the table."

One audience member, describing himself as a Republican who believes in the Constitution, said Harry Reid has recently called him and people like him "anarchists" and "extremists." He then questioned what the Founding Fathers would say about the Affordable Care Act, because to him it smacks of socialism.

"The Affordable Care Act is an overreach of the government," the audience member said. " I want my freedom back."

Swalwell replied: "My response is that our Founding Fathers would say that a candidate for presidential office told the American people what he wanted to do with healthcare and he was elected overwhelmingly. Then this candidate presented this plan to the Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate passed it, that same president signed it into law, the Supreme Court -- with a majority opinion written by a Chief Justice appointed by a Republican -- said it was Constitutional. And then the same person who ran on it ran for reelection and again was overwhelming elected. I would say whether we agree with the policy of not, it adheres to the Constitution."

Addressing Congress last week, Swalwell asked House Speaker John Boehner to call for a vote. "The Speaker controls what you get to vote on," Swalwell explained before he played a video of his statement to Congress. "He puts it on the floor."

Boehner has not called for a vote citing the "Hastert Rule." Named for former Speaker Dennis Hastert, this informal rule says that legislation should have the support of a "majority of the majority" for the Speaker to call for a vote.

"It is a dark day today in America," Swalwell said in his statement to Congress. "Mr. Speaker, you can turn back on the lights. Turn on the lights Mr. Speaker."

To the audience Swalwell explained, "We know we have the votes we need for a budget that does not include the Affordable Care Act." However, he furthered, the Republicans led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz have dug in their heels and Boehner will not call for a vote.

"The Democrats see any attempt to change (the Affordable Care Act) as an attempt to unravel it, and Republicans just want to defund it," the Congressman said. "At some point Speaker Boehner needs to answer 'do you want to be Speaker of the Republican Caucus or Speaker of the whole House?'"

Easing the division among Republicans and Democrats is one goal Swalwell spoke about when he was campaigning less than a year ago. When he first took office he helped form the United Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of 15 freshmen Republicans and 15 freshman Democrats. This group has been meeting regularly since the shutdown to discuss ways to bring it to an end.

"We need to find a bipartisan way out of this," he said.

In addition for asking for bipartisanship, many members of this caucus, including Swalwell, are putting their money where their mouths are -- literally -- and refusing their paychecks until the shutdown ends.

"I just didn't feel right taking my paycheck while others would be working and not getting theirs," Swalwell said.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Dublin
on Oct 9, 2013 at 8:23 am

"We need to find a bipartisan way out of this," he said.

Then why all the hate speak about about Speaker Boehner and the Republicans?

He had a prepared narrative and didn't want to field too many questions from the "anarchists and extremists", just wanted to keep repeating the same talking points that we keep hearing from Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

What a waste of time....made me wonder why he really flew back home for 24 hours?

Like this comment
Posted by Cindy
a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

Yadda Yadda Blah Blah Blah

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Castlewood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 8:56 am

Congressmen that are attempting to stop Obamacare are trying to change an unpopular government-driven medical plan. Swalwell's attempt to criticize their effort by referring to them as "Extreme Tea Partiers" is missing the mark. They should be applauded not condemned.

Voters, who don't see the government as primarily an ATM benefit dispensing machine, are also very concerned about the deficit which is enormous and continues to grow with no effort on the part of the President or the democratic Congress to address it or offer constructive proposals. Instead they just continue to spend and keep their voting base happy. Swalwell and his colleagues should summon up the courage to do the right things versus the popular things. Expensive, ineffective programs should definitely be part of a budget discussion.

Swalwell's partisan, biased rhetoric is an example of why voters are disillusioned in the first place.

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Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

Perhaps the Republicans who were elected to defund Obamacare are only trying to keep a promise made to their constituents, something most elected members of Congress fail to do. I hope Congressman Swalwell and his staff enjoy their exemption from Obamacare. I guess when Obama said, "If you like your insurance plan you can keep it", he was referring only to members Congress and their staffs.

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Posted by tim
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

swalwell is a younger pete stark.

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Posted by Pablo
a resident of Dublin
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

Stalwell is a complete and utter idiot. In our fervor to get rid of old Pete we elected a young Pete only this guy is a real loon. Isn't Stalwell they guy who made disgusting comments as our representative recently in congress?

How about this for your bipartisan proposal Eric? Repeal of all taxes and also all deductions, 20 percent national value added tax on everyone with no exceptions nor deductions, politicians by law can only spend .95 cents for every dollar that comes in with no borrowing nor issuing of government bonds, and lastly term limits of 12 years maximum for all members of the house and the senate. Here is the big one. As an elected official your net worth is capped when elected and you can only live on what you make during office and after leaving office are barred from work for any lobbyist or company which does work for the government. Try that one our Eric.

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Posted by Julia
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

I agree with Cindy...Yes they closed the circus, but they are still paying the clowns...

Thanks for Listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo CA

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Posted by Ricardo J.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

Well, it looks like the voters replaced one bombastic name-calling idiot (Pete Stark) with a younger, equally bombastic, equally name-calling, just as big an idiot. Isn't it ironic that Swalwell calls for compromise and in the same breath blasts away at John Boehner and "a handful of Republicans". Swalwell waxes on endlessly about Boehner "bottling things up" yet the things that Boehner "bottles up" is miniscule compared to what Harry Reid bottles up in the Senate. Senile Harry Reid's favorite words are "it's dead on arrival". The Senate has not passed a budget in 5 years!!! Some compromise there. Then there is Obama, who will not compromise PERIOD. Nada. Zip. Nix. Negatore.
This handful of Republicans are the only ones in that cesspool called Washington DC that are trying to do anything about the $17 Trillion deficit or our outrageous deficit spending. There are the only ones trying to do anything about the tragedy that is Obamacare, which has been labeled by one of it's chief architects, Democrat Senator Max Baucus, as "a train wreck about to happen". By the way, Obama said you would be able to keep you own doctor - that turns out to be a lie. He said there were no death panels - that turns out to be a lie. He said Obamacare would lower the cost of medical care in America - the government's own accounting office now says it will raise medical costs by about $1000 per person just in the first year.
So, now we get Pelosi's puppet, Eric Swalwell, coming to a Chamber function and bashing Republicans and offering now solutions. The Chambers of Commerce in the Tri-Valley should really re-think having sponsoring these "learning events" that turn out to be saber-throwing venues for idiot political hacks like Eric Swalwell.

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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

To those accusing Swalwell of being partisan, look at his statement regarding the whole Syria debacle. He did not at all follow party leadership nor the President. Perhaps he actually believes what the Republicans are doing at this time is wrong...

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Posted by Ringer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

He's bad. Really bad. Like the Democrats. Like the socialist newspapers. He used the term 'wet dream', so he's unqualified for office. Did I mention he's bad. Unions like him, so he's corrupt. Really corrupt. Always willing to raise the bar for intelligent discourse on these sites, that's me. Signed: Your intellectual friend with many, many names

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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

Where in the very wide world of sports did that misleading headline come from??

Buried deep in the article is a description of a bi-partisan group of puppy congressfolk who generally want to work together. Good for them.

But what Swalwell actually said about the current crisis is as follows (in the article itself): "Swalwell stated, the Affordable Care Act has to be taken off the table because, 'Tying the Affordable Care Act to how you budget the federal government can set a bad precedent.'"

Who put the ACA on the CR table? The GOP.

Who refuses to allow a vote on a clean CR, without the ACA? The GOP.

Who can fix this most manufactured of crises? The GOP, all by itself.

There is nothing bi-partisan about blackmailing the national interest and then demanding "a conversation" as ransom. Sen Schumer has it right: It's exactly like taking your family hostage, and then wanting to "have a conversation" about the price of your house.

Terrible situation -- worse headline. Again, Swalwell, appropriately, was not referring to the current shutdown, at all.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Who cares what is going on in Washington DC. The people of Pleasanton should be concerned with the state and regional governmnet who are tying the hands of our elected city officals to carry out mandates voted on and passed by the citizens of Pleasanton. Most of us moved to Pleasanton becasue it is not San Francisco or Berkeley. But we are now being forced into some nightmarish social engineering experiment because flakes from these two cities dominate the Democratic controlled legislature, executive branch, and judicial system in the state.

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Posted by Chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm

If we could stop electing liberal loons like Swalwell, we might be able to get the government back to doing what government is supposed to do, instead of handing out worker's pay to people who don't work, most of whom reside in the new boom town called Washington DC.

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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

"instead of handing out worker's pay to people who don't work"

Yes, exactly. You're talking about Social Security and Medicare. That's where the bulk of government spending is going.

"most of whom reside in the new boom town "

I'll have to disagree with you there. A lot of them reside in Arizona and Florida. That's where a lot of the Social Security and Medicare money goes.

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Posted by Eric
a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Swawell,you don't even know what your fellow communist democrats have said. Like all democrats you blame the wrong party. Obama ,Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have all declared that they refuse to compromise on national TV, this is why republicans are not backing down. Democrats started this mess and as usual refuse to admit they started it. As for stopping this shut down democrats will have to back down or the US should be forced into default to get the morons in the democratic party to understand that they don't run this country the people do and it's time to start putting members of congress in jail where they belong and that includes the white house and the anti-justice by Holder.

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Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I tossed the dice and presumed that Swalwell couldn't be any worse than Stark. The more Eric opens his mouth, the closer I am to admitting that I made a mistake.

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Posted by Ringer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I don't think any of you have captured just how bad Swalwell is. I mean he's really bad. He doesn't talk to citizens, and when he does he lies to them. And he's bought off by the unions. And he's a pawn of Pelosi and ObaMAO. And he swears. And it just couldn't get any better. He's a communist, anarchist, socialist, tyrant, totalitarian, and he's bad, really bad. And he supports Obamacare, which is like supporting Moloch at the beginning if the rapture. Bachmann tells us the final days are coming, and Christ will return to once again make sure we're not overtaxed by the state.

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Posted by dumb & dumber
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Regarding "I tossed the dice and presumed that Swalwell couldn't be any worse than Stark. The more Eric opens his mouth, the closer I am to admitting that I made a mistake."

Geez, you folks that are in this Post are such Neanderthals.

If you all are so smart, then why don't you run for Congress? Or, are you afraid that you will be called on the carpet?

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Posted by ????
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Bill, I couldn't agree with you more. We've sent all these liberals to Sacramento and look what we get back. Loss of local control so that now our City is forced to zone for high density apartments. Why can't WE decide what kind of housing is best for Pleasanton? What happened to free market? Its time to put fresh faces in Sacramento and Washington DC and get back to values that this country was founded upon.

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Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2013 at 6:48 am


We have many examples of Senators and Representatives who have proven time and again that you don't have to be smart to run for Congress.

Mr. Swalwell's recent comments do not serve him well.

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Posted by Bruce
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Here is the problem with our government. In the late sixties, congress passed the foreign corrupt practices act. This made it illegal for corporations to bribe foreign governments to get what was needed to do business in those countries. Good concept. However, they then made it legal for congressmen to accept contributions from those same people under the guise of campaign reform, freedom of speech, etc. If you contributed enough, you would get our government to give foreign aid to those same corrupt governments. Foreign aid as skyrocketed since then, our president can accept $1 billion in contributions to keep up the corrupt practices. Why don't we call a spade a spade, the congress is accepting bribes and government will not get any better until we put the crooks behind bars and have honest people run our government. How much has Swalwell managed to accept in bribes as a freshman rep. It would be fun to check the voting records of these crooks with the list of contributors to their campaigns.

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Posted by Chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Dear John,
I am not talking about Social Security and Medicare. The people who receive Social Security and Medicare have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to our corrupt government during their working careers. Getting back what you put in is not "entitlement". Getting other people to pay for your medical care is entitlement. Getting other people to pay for your food is entitlement. Wake up. Social Security was supposed to be a SAVINGS program, not a transfer from workers to retired folks. When the government spent our savings THEY turned it into what it is today.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jun 4, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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