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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

politics

Party chairs discuss shutdown

Talk of the government shutdown had Indiana party chairs treading lightly Thursday.

The SPEA Civic Leaders Center sponsored a talk with Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody and Indiana Republican Party Chair Timothy Berry speaking about the topic in Briscoe Quadrangle.

“The Republicans believe they can forge progress by holding their position today,” Berry said. “We have to make compromises, but I think we’ll all be OK.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd District, defended the party’s persistence by saying “(they) won’t be disrespected,” by President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to budge on the Affordable Care Act, and his angst has gone viral.
Berry said Republicans feel they were cheated out of a fair discussion.

“I don’t think that’s really what he meant to say,” Berry said of Stutzman. “The Republicans just want to sit down with the president so he understands the perspective they have on the issue.”

Obama has been persistent in his “no negotiation” stance on the Affordable Care Act, and Berry said it’s not the way to do business.

“It’s not an easy discussion, we know that,” Berry said. “It’s about the direction the country is going, and we can’t move forward if we don’t sit down at the table and work it out.”

Zody is a proponent of Obamacare. He said he considers it a debt the government owes the country.

“It’s a baseline service,” he said. “People need to be taken care of.”

A stroke four years ago put Zody in the hospital. He said the $60,000 hospital bill made him realize what a disservice it is to deny people health care.

“What about the people who can’t afford to go to the emergency room?” he said. “What happens when the nonprofit clinic is closed? The Affordable Care Act takes care of that.”

Zody said he knows it’s not perfect.

“We all agree it needs to be reformed,” Zody said.

But the Affordable Care Act is the best solution we have, he said.

“If I didn’t have good health care, I’d be bankrupt,” Zody said. “I’m lucky that I’m paid well, but I’m especially lucky I had insurance. The Act is a good thing.”

Paul Helmke, director of the Civic Leaders Center, monitor of the talk, said the argument about the shutdown has him frustrated.

“The job of these people is to pass bills, and they can’t even do that,” he said.

This week is the second of the shutdown. Helmke said it’s unacceptable.


“There’s no excuse they don’t have this done by now,” he said. “Even if you don’t agree with topics at hand, it has to be dealt with.”

He said the debt ceiling should never be an issue.

“It’s like a credit card,” he said. “The ceiling is your ability to pay the bill. You don’t deal with the problem by refusing to pay the debt. You just stop spending.”

Helmke said his son-in-law is stationed at a U.S. Embassy in Europe. His military housing may not be paid for because of the shutdown.

While 3.3 million government workers like members of the military are considered “essential” and still at work, 800,000 other government employees are still
furloughed.

“I hope calmer heads prevail,” Helmke said. “It affects everybody, and it’s just
unnecessary.”

A clear solution wasn’t discussed.

“I’m just going to leave it up to my bosses and trust what they decide,” Zody said.

Follow reporter Ashley Jenkins on Twitter @ashmorganj.

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