The finger of blame for the recent crisis in Congress, which caused a federal shutdown and a near debt default, has increasingly been pointed at Republican members of Congress, especially those associated with the Tea Party caucus.
Todd Young, our local representative in Washington since 2010, has often been associated with the Tea Party due to his supportive votes for their resolutions. He also has endorsements from many Tea Party associated organizations and financial backers.
During an interview with WFHB correspondent David Murphy during the Congressional deadlock, this association was raised with Representative Young.
“That characterization I know was not put forward with any ill intention, but I would depart from that,” Young said.
Paradoxically, he went on to say that he was an “independent-thinking and mainstream public servant” that listens to his constituents and feels that he represents their point of view well.
Representative Young went on to espouse bi-partisanism in Congress, and mentioned his membership in such a group in the House.
“I’m not a populist or rabble-rouser,” Young said, “I don’t question people’s motives. I’m looking for a bi-partisan solution. If along the way we could actually control healthcare costs while ensuring millions more people get access to healthcare, that would be great. However, my concerns are fiscal in nature and the threat that exists to our most marginal citizens by not solving these long-neglected issues require Presidential leadership.”
During a subsequent interview with Trent Deckard, Chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, Representative Young’s association with the Tea Party was also raised.
While Young denies any association with the Tea Party, local Democrat Party Chair Trent Deckard sees things differently.
He draws attention to Young’s voting record in the House for evidence.
“He sure votes a lot with the Tea Party, even if he says he’s not in it,” Deckard said, “It can’t be lost that we got to this point because they have held out and that nothing short of completely eliminating the Affordable Care Act is acceptable. His record reflects that. He claims that he’s in a group called the ‘No Labels’ but his record and his votes don’t match that.”
Deckard also brought up the favorable impact Representative Young’s more recent votes had on some Tea Party initiated bills, which precipitated the shutdown of federal government services and the near debt default.
“We expect better of him, he’s a smart guy,” Deckard said, “I hope that he uses this opportunity to get in there and make a change. Voters are increasingly wary of it and we hear every day from folks who are fed up with it. This is Todd Young’s chance to get it right.”
While this crisis in government has passed, it may come up again. The continuing resolution, which allowed for the reopening of federal offices, runs out in early 2014.
Similarly, the Obama administration will soon have to go back to Congress to seek a raising of the debt limit in order to avoid a default.