A bipartisan group of 49 members of Congress on Thursday urged congressional leaders to negotiate their way out of the fiscal crisis in Washington.
The gathering was organized by No Labels, a bipartisan group that promotes interaction and compromise between Republicans and Democrats.
“I came to Congress to try to fix things, not just to fight for fighting's sake,” said Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). “We're asking all of our nation's leaders … to come together in good faith, to look forward and seek the best way forward, and most of all to begin talking to each other.”
Twenty-two House Republicans participated in the press conference, a notable number because such a group could combine with Democrats to pass a “clean” increase to the debt ceiling or legislation funding the government. However, it was not clear whether the Republicans at the event supported such a move.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) said he was optimistic the group could push for at least a short-term deal.
“I've seen the whip counts in the Washington Post, The Hill, and others. I think if a clean continuing resolution, if a clean debt ceiling raise came to the floor, we'd be able to pass it,” he said. He added that he thought the pressure of the impending debt ceiling increase would compel the House's Republican leadership to allow a vote on a short-term extension that leaves time for negotiating a long-term compromise.
“We've never in our history defaulted on our debt, and we shouldn't start doing that now.”