December 20, 2014

Braley says Senate deal “best path forward” to temporarily end DC gridlock (AUDIO)

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley says he’s ready to vote for the “bipartisan deal” that has emerged in the U.S. Senate to temporarily end the gridlock in the nation’s capital.

“Iowans deserve a government that works for them and the harsh reality is they haven’t been getting it,” Braley says. “…The best path forward for the economy and to strengthen the middle class is for us to honor the commitments we’ve made and the simple solution is to reopen the government, to pay our bills and then to work out our differences. That’s what Iowans want us to do and that’s what congress should do.”

The deal senate leaders have struck would provide enough money to keep the federal government open ’til January 15 and extend the government’s borrowing authority into February. There’s no guarantee this deal will pass the Republican-led House, however, as conservative Republicans have been pressing for more concessions from Democrats. Braley, one of two Democrats from Iowa who serve in the U.S. House, says he is “optimistic” the plan will pass the House.

“We should be working every day to help the economy, not to hurt it,” Braley says. “And yet we have seen reckless behavior here in Washington that is threatening the very core of our economy.”

Braley says he’d “much prefer” a long-term solution rather than this four- to five-month plan.

“I’m optimistic that even though this is a short-term solution, it will give us the opportunity now for people to find the space to realize that their number one responsibility is to work for the people who elected us and to bring people together to solve these problems,” Braley says.

Braley is the only Democrat to emerge as a candidate in 2014 for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat. This afternoon Braley told reporters during a telephone conference call that he’ll combat growing anti-incumbent sentiment by stressing legislation he’s shepherded through congress by working with Republicans.

“If that isn’t something people value, then I would just ask them to think what it would be like if we bring even more polarized people to Washington,” Braley said.

A half dozen Republicans have said they intend to seek the Iowa GOP’s nomination for the U.S. Senate. Many of those Republicans ridiculed comments Braley made last week about the lack of towel service in the gym members of the House use. Braley’s comments were also the inspiration for a skit on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show on ABC.

“Fortunately, Jimmy is not calling me to ask for any further material,” Braley said. “One of the things you learn is that when congress is not working the way it’s supposed to it gives people a lot of opportunity to talk about thing that aren’t going to get the government back together and bring us together and to solve the problems that we face as a country.”

Braley defends the members-only gym as a place where Democrats and Republicans come together and “build relationships of trust” that can lead to better working relationships in congress.

“I think that’s something we need more of here, not less of,” Braley told reporters today. “And I regret that anything that I said took attention away from the most important thing and that is how we give people the government that works for them, brings people together and says instead of becoming more partisan, how can we break down those barriers and solve these tough problems.”

AUDIO of Braley’s conference call with reporters, 15:00