Moderate Democrats and Republicans who banded together to seek bipartisan solutions to end the government shutdown appear to still be talking to each other, and they want the chief budget negotiators to know.
Three Blue Dog Democrats and three Republicans from the centrist Tuesday Group have co-signed a letter to House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., with a simple message: They're ready to work together, across the aisle, to find solutions to pressing political problems.
"We stand ready to work with you on a bipartisan solution that solves our nation's fiscal problems," they wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 9. "We believe that what unites us far exceeds what divides us. It's time to put our differences aside."
For Democrats and Republicans to agree to put their names on the same piece of paper — and publicly release it — is significant, even if the message of their correspondence is far from incendiary.
Blue Dog Democrat and House Agriculture ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota said recently that "we are now in such a toxic situation that Republicans cannot be seen talking to or working with Democrats."
Read the whole letter below, plus see the lawmakers who lent their signatures:
Dear Chairman Ryan and Chairman Murray:
As solution-oriented Members of Congress, we strive to find common ground on some of the most serious challenges before us. Like many Americans, we agree that the gridlock in Washington has to stop. We urge you to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to the serious fiscal challenges we face as a nation.
There is no greater threat to the American economy than our government's $17 trillion national debt. But the partisan gridlock has made it nearly impossible for us to develop a responsible fiscal plan that addresses these issues. We believe it is our duty to put the needs of our country ahead of any political party.
We stand ready to work with you on a bipartisan solution that solves our nation's fiscal problems. We believe that what unites us far exceeds what divides us. It's time to put our differences aside.
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y.
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.