U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, shown Nov. 6, 2012, won't back a bipartisan deal in the U.S. Senate being readied for a vote today before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its ability to raise additional funds to pay the government's bills, his office said. / Jarrad Henderson/Detroit Free Press
WASHINGTON (Detroit Free Press) -- A deal to reopen the federal government and raise the nation's debt ceiling may be in the works, but at least one Michigan congressman is saying he can't support it.
U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, won't back a bipartisan deal in the U.S. Senate being readied for a vote today before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its ability to raise additional funds to pay the government's bills, his office said.
His spokesman, Matt Chisholm, said Bentivolio will vote against the deal to raise the nation's $16.7-trillion debt ceiling until Feb. 7 and reopen government -- which has been partially shut since Oct. 1 -- until Jan. 15.
"Tens of thousands of Michiganders are being hurt by Obamacare and Kerry was sent to stop it," Chisholm said. "This plan doesn't solve the problem."
Worries have been rampant that the government shutdown has been hurting the economy and, more significantly. that if the debt ceiling is not raised by Thursday, the nation could default on its debts for the first time in its history, an outcome that would reverberate negatively through financial markets around the world.
One Michigan Republican who is ready to support the compromise is U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell. Two weeks ago, Rogers in a radio interview raised doubts about the Republican strategy that allowed a shutdown over demands regarding what many call Obamacare -- the Affordable Care Act.
In the interview, he said the shutdown shifted debate away from problems with the Affordable Care Act. He added, "Chaos is not governing."
Appearing again today on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's syndicated radio show, Rogers said, "Hopefully we have learned by this that there is a beter way to get what we need to have accomplished. ... You have to be patient and you have to be actually willing to talk to the other side. But I think you end up getting more and I think that's what we were sent here to do."
House Republicans had demanded that the health care reform law enacted three years ago be delayed or defunded as a condition of passing a budget resolution funding government after Oct. 1.
In the Senate, a bipartisan group of 14 senators has been working with leaders of both parties to come up with a plan that reopens government and avoids potential default. It also sets up a bicameral group to set budget limits.
At this point, votes in both the Senate and House are expected but it is not known if there is enough Republican support for a deal in the House to allow the 11th hour measure to pass.
"The government shutdown and threat of default has once again put our nation in the grip of a completely avoidable economic crisis, all because of the Republican Party's ideological quest to dismantle the Affordable Care Act," said U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin of Royal Oak, who like most Democrats, will support the compromise. "That must end today."
Contact TODD SPANGLER at 703-854-8947 or at firstname.lastname@example.org