CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, said the first step toward ending the political stalemate on Capitol Hill is to fully reopen the government.
“We have to open it with a clean CR (continuing resolution),” said Tennant on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
After that, she said, negotiations involving all sides could begin on a long term spending plan that would also include raising the debt ceiling before the Oct. 17 deadline.
“We cannot go into default. We’ve never done that in our country’s history. We cannot do that,” she said.
Tennant said there have been plenty of missed chances for negotiations involving Democrats and Republicans before now, more than a week into the partial federal government shutdown.
“As I watch and as I read and as I follow this, there were a lot of opportunities for both sides to negotiate and now, here we are, coulda, woulda, shoulda,” she said.
“We needed to have the negotiations at that period, long before the deadline, and long before the deadline takes place of Oct. 17.”
President Barack Obama has proposed temporarily reopening the government and raising the debt limit and, only then, beginning longer-term budget negotiations.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has rejected that and has, instead, called on Democrats to negotiate on additional GOP terms before a House vote on a full spending bill.
Tennant launched her U.S. Senate campaign last month. If she wins the Democratic nomination in the May Primary Election, she’ll likely face Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito in the 2014 November General Election.