PARKERSBURG - A Republican U.S. representative from West Virginia believes the party made strides in addressing spending and getting negotiations going with Democrats during the recent government shutdown.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., was in Parkersburg Thursday and met with veterans and businessmen for discussions on issues impacting them.
"We just want to hear from our people," he said.
The two-term representative from the 1st Congressional District commented on the recent shutdown, the standing of the Republican Party nationwide and his political future.
The Republican plan to hold up extending the debt ceiling to undermine the Affordable Care Act that led to the 16-day government shutdown was the wrong tactic, McKinley said. While the principle was admirable; it is wrong to use principles as a tactic, he said.
"It didn't work," he said.
However, it did get President Obama and the Senate Democratic leadership to work with Republicans on compromises, McKinley said.
''No one liked it, but we got them to negotiate,'' he said. ''To me that was very important because they (the Democrats) were so clear that they would not negotiate.''
Through their work, the continuing resolution to fund the government now will last until Jan. 15 as opposed to a year, which was sought by some of the Democratic House leadership. Plans were also in place to end some aspects of the sequestration cuts and raise the spending limit.
''We said 'no,''' McKinley said. ''As a minority party, we were able to, for the first time since the Korean War, we were able reduce the spending level in Washington for two years in a row. That is pretty incredible. Even as the minority party, we are having an impact on things.''
McKinley voted for the compromise that reopened the government with the commitment from the Democrats that there would be negotiations over the next 90 days on a variety of issues.
There can be disagreements on how to resolve a problem, but the opposing parties have to talk with each other to reach a resolution, McKinley said.
''I am waiting to see what they do,'' he said. ''Are they sincere?
''We cannot make government work if we can't sit across the table and work our way through it.''
The Budget Committee is meeting and lawmakers are looking at entitlement and tax reforms as a result of the work done stemming from the shutdown.
Polls indicate most people blame the Republicans in Congress for the shutdown of government and near financial catastrophe if the U.S. defaulted on financial obligations. Much of the blame is placed on a small number of tea party Republicans who held up a resolution of the crisis.
McKinley believes Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, will remain Speaker of the House, but relations may change.
"I think he is going to be more forceful this time," McKinley said.
McKinley said he hasn't studied how the shutdown will impact the 2014 election for the 1st District. That shouldn't be how decisions are made, he said.
"That's not how I want to operate," McKinley said. ''I am not in there for a career.
''I represent everybody, and we make sure we communicate with everyone about what is going on.''
McKinley, a former state Republican Party chairman, in 2010 defeated Democrat Mike Oliverio, who defeated Alan Mollohan, a congressman for many years, in the primary election.