Rep. Charlie Dent: "Confident And Optimistic" Senate Deal Will Pass In House

Oct 16, 2013

The Senate is proposing a bipartisan plan that would avoid a default and reopen the federal government, but it remains to be seen whether the Senate plan will pass in the House.

“I am confident and optimistic that the bipartisan, bicameral agreement will be adopted by the House,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson.

He says that there will probably remain stalwarts in his party who will vote against the plan, but remains confident that it will have bipartisan support in the House.

Even though the measure will only avoid a default temporarily, and keep the government open through January 15, Dent believes that lawmakers have learned something from what he called a “debacle.”

“I hope that everybody who was involved in this process will take a more serious, sober approach to government shutdowns, at the very least,” Dent said. “I hope everybody understands that they have an affirmative obligation to govern.”


  • Charlie Dent, Republican congressman representing Pennsylvania’s 15th district.



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White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama is welcoming a Senate deal that would reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling until early next year. The deal reached today leaves the president's Affordable Care Act largely untouched, and it tasks a special committee to come up with a longer term spending deal by mid-December. Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent joins us from Capitol Hill to discuss. Congressman, welcome.

REPRESENTATIVE CHARLIE DENT: Hey, Jeremy. Thanks for having me on the show.

HOBSON: Well, is the House going to accept the Senate's compromised deal?

DENT: I believe the House will. Really, the only question now is will the House move first or will the Senate.

HOBSON: And what about the more conservative members who have been against this?

DENT: I'm not going to suggest there will be unanimity on the Republican side, but there will be a sufficient number of House Republicans who will vote for this agreement. And I suspect there will be many Democrats who will vote for it as well in the House. And it will secure the 218 votes necessary to secure passage. The issue, too, is that I'm also anxious to see, you know, just how large the number is in the Senate. If the Senate were to move first and there was a very strong number coming out of the Senate, that would probably help the House vote. If the House goes first, I suspect that the vote tally might be a little smaller.

HOBSON: Do you think that John Boehner's speakership is in question after this?

DENT: No. I mean, I suspect those who are advocating for a government shutdown - those folks, I suspect, but I'll probably not be happy with the speaker under any circumstances. But I believe that the governing wing of the House Republican Majority understand the difficult predicament the speaker has been in, and that he's going to have to allow a vote on this bill even if it means a minority of House Republicans vote for it. I think most of the House Republican numbers understand that this is something that must happen, and that the speaker must be given that type of political attitude under circumstances like this.

HOBSON: Congressman, it feels as though we're out of the woods if this all goes through as it looks like it will. But then we have to remember we're going to be right back here in a few months from now. So how will things change based on what has just happened? Are we going to have another situation just like this in just a matter of months?

DENT: Well, I certainly hope not. But if nothing else happens out of this, I hope that everybody who was involved in this process, you know, will take a more serious sober approach to government shutdowns, at the very least. I think - I hope everybody understands that they have an affirmative obligation to govern, that every one of us, you know, has a very basic fundamental responsibility, and that is to pass the budget and fund the government. The same time, I believe the President of the United States must also get very serious about the fiscal sustainability of this country. He is not running for reelection again. It is time for him to step up and lead.

He is going to have to say some things to his political base that they are not going to want to hear. But it's imperative for the president to stand up and talk about how we are going to reform our tax code and our mandatory programs, our entitlement programs, in a way that they're sustainable for the next generation. And he has been, sadly, lacking in the leadership department with respect to that issue. I believe it's time for him to be much more aggressive and bold, because he will find ruling partners on both sides of the aisle, in Congress who want to deal with this long-term challenge in a serious, thoughtful, responsible manner.

HOBSON: Do you think your party is going to suffer for what has just happened in the next election next year?

DENT: Well, I've always said there are no winners coming out of this debacle. No winners. Everybody loses. What we're trying to figure out is who is going to lose more. I suspect in the short term, the Republican Party, you know, based on all the polls, will suffer more than the Democrats in the short term. But, you know, that's the short term. But over time, you know, who knows how this plays out?

HOBSON: Republican Congressman Charlie Dent represents Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Charlie Dent, thanks so much for joining us.

DENT: Thank you for having me.

HOBSON: And you're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.