Congressman Frelinghuysen urges compromise to end shutdown: ‘Public deserves better’


Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) is no fan of Obamacare.

But the federal shutdown may be worse.

“There is a group on the Republican side that feels shutting down the government is a good idea. It repels me to do that,” the Congressman said on Tuesday, after a budget impasse forced the first shutdown of the federal government since 1996.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) accused Democrats of trying to 'take over one-sixth of the economy.'
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) accused Democrats of trying to ‘take over one-sixth of the economy.’

He recalled the public outcry from that episode, and said Congress can ill afford a sequel. “The American public deserves better,” he said.

The Congressman, whose district includes Morristown, said it’s time for compromise by all sides. He said he is among about 30 Republicans tapped by House Speaker John Boehner for a committee that stands ready to conference with Senate Democrats to restart the government.

“I think everything is on the table,” said Rep. Frelinghuysen. The scion of one of New Jersey’s wealthiest and most prominent political families said he has asked Congress to suspend his pay during the shutdown.

The political showdown has centered on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. It’s meant to provide health insurance for 30 million uninsured Americans, guarantee coverage for people previously denied for pre-existing conditions, and reduce costs for millions of others who struggle to afford health care.

Obamacare began enrolling uninsured citizens on Tuesday, as 800,000 federal employees were being furloughed without pay because of the budget standoff.

Republicans have argued Obamacare is overly complex and will drive up health care costs. Rep. Frelinghuysen has voted with fellow House Republicans to defund and delay the program, as part of a routine appropriations bill to fund government operations.

Senate Democrats have rejected that linkage. President Obama accused Republicans of holding “the entire economy hostage over ideological demands.”

Message posted Tuesday on White House website.
Message posted Tuesday on White House website.

Rep. Frelinghuysen said he doubts Obamacare will be repealed.

“But there ought to be a pause before there is any more of an implementation,” he said, claiming the 3,000-page act is full of loopholes. “This law is not ready for prime time. I think it’s important to get it right.”

He blamed the situation on a “lack of checks and balances,” accusing the Democratic majority of trying to “take over one-sixth of the economy.

“The President needs to do less campaign posturing and start doing more talking to the House and Senate himself,” the Congressman said from Washington. “There’s a lot of posturing down here. The country is not well served by this shutdown.”

Speaking in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, President Obama asserted the shutdown  is “about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it. It’s all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama said Tuesday that the GOP was trying to hold the economy 'hostage to ideological demands.'
President Obama said Tuesday that the GOP was trying to hold the economy ‘hostage to ideological demands.’

“This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days. I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is.

“And of course what’s stranger still is that shutting down our government doesn’t accomplish their stated goal. The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House, that passed the Senate, the Supreme Court ruled constitutional. It was a central issue in last year’s election. It is settled, and it is here to stay,” the President said.

Asked if the GOP has allowed the Tea Party to push it too far, Rep. Frelinghuysen, a 10-term incumbent generally regarded as a moderate, gave a measured response.

“New members come to Congress with strong beliefs, said the Vietnam veteran.

“It’s difficult to explain to new members that there is no benefit to shutting down the government. It hurts the government, it hurts the institution. The American public deserves better. We need to get back on an even keel.”


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  1. Don’t get mad, vote for change in Nov 2014. We need a leader in Congress who will put national interest first over party interest. Check out Mark Dunec (D) for Congress.


  3. I have to agree with the posters. Its way to late for grandstand plays. One congressional paycheck will not feed hungry children or undo the damage caused by the government shut down.

    While Rodney and his fellow Republicans fiddle around, our country’s creditability is burning and our citizens are suffering..

  4. You suggest negotiations as if there is a middle ground here, Representative Frelinghuysen. That is a false equivalency. We have a law, the Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress , that was vetted by the U.S. Supreme Court, and, in its essence, found constitutional. It is now the law of the land. You may not like it, you may not have voted for it, but, you are toying with nullification by failing to fund it. Medicare and Social Security have been changed over time and so can the Affordable Care Act. Failing to fund it, though, and, now, the operation of government, is a dastardly act and responsibility falls fully on you. You try to distance yourself from it but you can’t. It is your colleagues, with whom you stand, and with whom you vote–see your embarrassing and immoral vote to cut food stamps and, too, against extending exemptions for the most needy, veterans and children–that tells us where you stand. Your spin simply does not convince. You are on the wrong side; the president is on the right side; he is upholding the law and trying to fund the government. There is no middle ground between wrong and right.

  5. Rodney — You have accused the Democrats and President of “not wanting to negotiate” on healthcare, but I hate to tell you that those negotiations have ALREADY taken place. It was TWO YEARS AGO when the bill was being written. I believe the Democrats and President caved back then by taking single payer off the table. Since then, it has been passed by both houses, signed by the president and affirmed by the suprememe court. IT’s time for you to get out of the way, and Pressure Speaker Boehner to do HIS job and bring a clean continuing resolution to the floor. I distincly remember you calling for an “up or down vote” when the president was a republican. Let’s have an up or down vote now!!! Oh, and spare us the withholding your paycheck crap. I’m sure that’s going to make a huge dent in your 70 million dollar bottom line.

  6. Dear Congressman Frelinghuysen, Exactly who are you representing? You and your Tea Party cohorts are destroying the Republican Party, Disapproval of the way congressional Republicans are “handling negotiations over the federal budget” has jumped to 70%!!! You sir have lost my respect.
    I’m looking for a Republican representative who is inspirational, offers great ideas, a strong visionary with common sense.
    Congressman Frelinghuysen you’re negative, weak, ineffective, cynical and don’t truly represent us.
    My fellow Morris County Republicans are sophisticated, smart, caring and would like to see positive solutions to issues. You’ve lost my vote Rodney, start looking for another job.

  7. Congressman Frelinghuysen, why did the House GOP refuse to go to a budget conference 5 months ago? What was the point of the GOP waiting 5 months, shutting down government, and then declaring it was ready to conference with the Senate to resolve differences? And, why would you expect to conference with the Senate while the government is shut down? Because it involves going through the budget in detail, such budget conferences take weeks – – making the idea of keeping the government shut down while you conference absurd. Sir, it appears you are in league with a Ted Cruz-led gang of political troublemakers! You need to disassociate yourself from those who fail to act as responsible legislators.

  8. Old rich white guys don’t care about America. What a joke, he’s suspending his pay. Would the wealthy scion like to pay for the hard working government workers who cannot afford to lose a pay check. Reality check: Congressman Frelinghuysen is a pathetic disgrace–out of touch, out of his mind and out to screw hard working Americans. Anyone out there want to run against him?

  9. If Rodney feels so strongly that the shutdown is wrong, why didn’t he join Peter King and the other 11 Republicans who voted against tying the continuing resolution to de-funding the Affordable Care Act? He is having it both ways here.

    The Affordable Care Act is the law and the people’s representatives enacted it. You don’t get to shut down the government because you don’t like the results of the election.

    Convince the people you are right and how you would fix the law to make it work better. Maybe they will vote for you. In the meantime, we are all your hostages.

    Millions of Americans went online yesterday to seek affordable healthcare through the exchanges. At the same time, the GOP sent 800k home from work without pay because they didn’t “win.” Thank you Rodney and your Tea Party buddies for reminding me why I’m a proud Democrat. Have you no shame?