House Republican Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) said that many of his fellow Republicans in Congress don’t understand political reality. In a recent interview with The Hill, Rigell said that the GOP needs to end the gridlock in Washington and find ways to work with Democrats to get things done.
During the shutdown, Rigell said he “wasn’t able to connect the dots” about the decision to defund the government “over a deep matter of principle.” When asked by The Hill if Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) understands political reality, Rigell responded, “No.”
“The political reality is this, that we can pass a bill with 233 Republicans and kind of thump ourselves on the chest and ‘We showed them,’ but nothing gets done,” Rigell said in the interview. “Going on without a solution in this Congress is not an option.”
Rigell says he is willing to raise taxes, though he identifies as a fiscal conservative.
Last month, he was the only member of his party to vote against a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 15 in exchange for defunding the Affordable Care Act.
At that time, he wrote a letter in which he asked House leadership to return the House to regular order. “There is universal agreement that funding the federal government with Continuing Resolutions damages the economy and our nation’s military,” he wrote. “Yet they are now seen as acceptable if not inevitable.”
“I for one am not willing to accept the premise that the best we’ve got is to wait for the next presidential election,” he said in the interview. “It is not right.”
Rigell is attempting to spread the message to his Republican colleagues that they need to “pivot as a conference.” He believes the party should be willing to move somewhat, “in a responsible way,” toward an “acceptable ratio of revenue and expenditures.”
“Absent some movement on our side, we’re going to have continued gridlock,” he said. “Gridlock is not acceptable.”