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Charlie Dent getting attention for stance on government shutdown

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 08 2013 04:52:46 PM CDT

One of the lawmakers who's trying to find a solution to the mess in Washington is U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents parts of Berks County and the Lehigh Valley.

One of the lawmakers who's trying to find a solution to the mess in Washington is U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents parts of Berks County and the Lehigh Valley, and he's getting a lot of national attention for his efforts.

Dent, a Republican, is being called the moderate in the middle, but he shakes it off, saying he just wants to get the government back up and running again.

The New York Times branded Dent the "moderate in the middle" of the government shutdown debate. 

Dent and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin, authored a resolution to  end the gridlock. Dent said it's getting some traction.

"We need to get on with our jobs. We have an affirmative obligation to govern and it's time we get beyond all of the brinksmanship and the theatrics," Dent said.

The act, said Dent, is a compromise between the Democrats who want Obamacare and the Republicans who don't, but he said reaching an agreement to end the shutdown will require a lot more compromise and communication, especially between the House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama.

"He cannot stand back and say he is not going to dialog, he is not going to negotiate. For heaven's sake, Reagan, he had government shutdowns when he was president, but he always engaged Tip O'Neill," said Dent.

With the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline so close, the clock for that engagement is  ticking.

Despite what Boehner says, Dent said he believes there are enough votes to pass a compromise and then move on to avoid an economic catastrophe.

"I believe we are going to have to pass a short-term government funding bill or CR and a short-term debt limit increase quickly," said Dent.

Dent said he's hopeful a compromise is reached by the end of the week, but it may go right down to the Oct. 17 deadline.

Meantime, members of the Senate are working on measures to end the shutdown. Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, sent the speaker a letter Friday, urging him to allow a vote on a clean continuing resolution to fund government operations.