INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence blamed Barack Obama for the federal government shutdown Friday, saying the Democratic president should give in to some of the House Republicans' demands.
"The federal government shutdown is a failure of leadership, particularly by this administration that has been unwilling to move off of a singular position," Pence said. "I just urge the president to sit down with legislators and look for opportunities for genuine common ground."
The former six-term Republican congressman believes if Obama were willing to consider repealing the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that partially funds the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans may be more likely to approve a "clean" spending measure.
"If the president is looking for true common ground to move past this government shutdown, to get the government reopened and accept some changes to Obamacare, I think that's a great place to start," Pence said. "The president needs to provide leadership in this moment."
The Republican members of Indiana's Congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind, and U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indianapolis, echoed the governor's position in a letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
The lawmakers said keeping the medical device tax will cost 2,000 jobs at more than 300 Indiana companies that manufacture medical devices.
"This tax is prohibiting their ability to conduct research or clinical trials to create new medical devices," they write.
Repealing the medical-device tax would cost the federal government $30 billion over the next 10 years.
Pence said he's confident Congress could find things to cut in the federal budget to make up for the lost revenue.
The federal government shutdown entered its fourth day Friday with no end in sight.
While House Republicans initially conditioned passing any government spending plan on delaying or repealing the Affordable Care Act. Since Oct. 1,they no longer have any clear demands and have taken to approving piecemeal legislation to fund small, popular slices of the federal government, such as national parks.
Senate Democrats say they only will act on a full government funding measure that does not affect Obamacare. Democrats point out they've already compromised by accepting for at least another year the sequester, that is, reduced government spending levels favored by Republicans.
Hoosier U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, perhaps best summarized the increasingly unhinged House position when he said this week Republicans "have to get something" out of the shutdown, "and I don't know what that even is."