NY Republican calls shutdown ‘asinine’

Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedPush for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Lower refunds amplify calls to restore key tax deduction Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (R-N.Y.) is calling the partial government shutdown “asinine” and predicts it will end soon.

Reed, a co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said he believed that once the House elects its leaders later on Thursday, negotiations will move much more quickly toward ending the shutdown, which began on Dec. 22.

“We have a little bit more political theater to go through here – the extremes on both sides seem to be locking the parties up into this gridlock,” he told Hill.TV. “But I think once we get through the leadership elections here today, I think there's a deal to be struck here. … This is untenable.”

He suggested a compromise surrounding border security and other reforms to immigration.

Reed criticized both sides in the debate for getting hung up over the border wall, saying it was “asinine to engage in this type of political bickering - over a term.”

He noted that two children have died in custody of the Department of Homeland Security, and that a California police officer was allegedly shot by an undocumented immigrant.

“You have two children who died, you have a law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty – you are going to put the political divide over substantively addressing these issues so people are not suffering such human tragedy? That, to me is wrong,” he said.

The shutdown began after Trump demanded a funding bill include $5 billion for a wall on the Mexican border, something rejected by Democrats.

Reed intends to break with his own party on Thursday and support a Democratic House rules package, despite the fact that he may face consequences from his party.

Such votes are generally party-line votes, but Reed vowed to back the package because of certain reforms agreed to by Democrats.

“Obviously there are consequences to this because you're breaking from the herd so to speak,” he said.

Both on substance and “in good faith — I'm willing to put my voting card where my mouth is – and stand on the record supporting this rules package,” Reed said.

—Molly K. Hooper