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Republican: Many in GOP don’t live in political reality

A House Republican lawmaker says many of his fellow GOP colleagues in Congress, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), don’t live in “political reality.”

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Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) said that shutting down the government “over a deep matter of principle” didn’t add up. He defected on a key vote during the shutdown, and called for a “clean” government-funding bill.

In his short stint on Capitol Hill, Rigell has not been shy in taking on both parties and outside groups. The second-term lawmaker co-sponsored a gun bill that is strongly opposed by gun rights groups, and led the charge in August against President Obama’s effort on military action in Syria. More recently, he challenged both parties on campaign reform, calling for sweeping changes to curb gerrymandering across the country.

Politically, it makes sense for Rigell to play toward the middle. Obama narrowly won his district in 2012, making the wonky 53-year-old legislator a natural target in next year’s election. In an hour-long interview, Rigell stressed the need for the parties to work together to achieve fiscal solvency and stability.

“Gridlock is not acceptable,” said Rigell, who represents the Virginia Beach area.

He is one of the few Republicans willing to raise taxes, but claims the mantle of a fiscal conservative, noting that he voted in favor of the Republican Study Committee’s budget blueprint.

“Revenues have to come up a bit because it’s a conservative principle that one generation pays for the goods or services that it benefits from,” Rigell said as he marked up a white board to explain his extensive calculation leading to the politically unpopular conclusion.

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