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Republican Governors Clash With Washington Over Shutdown

Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal
Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal. Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

By William Selway

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Republican governors faulted politicians in Washington for the budget standoff that shuttered the federal government for the first time in 17 years, saying it threatens to tarnish the party’s image.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said “dysfunction” in the nation’s capital is casting doubt over the party’s philosophy and clashes with how it has been implemented in the states.

“We are no longer going to outsource the Republican brand to the folks in Washington,” he said in statement. “Conservative principles, when turned into actual policies, are working out in the real world. But the dysfunction in Washington casts doubt on conservative ideas and whether they work or not.”

The comments highlight a divide among Republicans as the partial government shutdown entered its third day. House Republicans are seeking to use the budget negotiations to force changes to President Barack Obama’s health-care law. Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate have refused.

The first partial government shutdown since 1996 has idled 800,000 federal employees, closed national parks and threatens the economy. It comes a year ahead of elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain their majority control over governors’ offices and the House.

Little Progress

Since the shutdown began on Oct. 1, negotiations have produced little progress. Democrats, including Obama, say Republicans must agree to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit, which it will hit in mid-October, before engaging in broader negotiations over the budget.

More than a dozen House Republicans are pressing to drop efforts to roll back part of Obama’s health-care law as part of the budget, and Republican governors have criticized politicians for failing to reach an agreement.

Today, the Republican Governors Association released a video featuring Jindal and governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, discussing how they’ve led their states.

‘Work Hard’

“We all have to work hard, with members of our own party, and members from the other party, to find solutions that work,” Jindal said. “We all do it. There is no reason the public should not expect the same in Washington.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, told reporters the shutdown is “craziness,” and a failure of both parties. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, a Republican, told reporters it’s “absolutely wrong” to shut down the government because of disagreement about the health-care law.

Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican who drew support from the Tea Party, yesterday criticized Obama and congressional leaders after about 400 employees of the National Guard in his state were put on temporary leave.

“Some of these men and women have been deployed multiple times,” LePage said in a statement. “Now they are being used to make a political point.”

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