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Originally published October 1, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Page modified October 1, 2013 at 5:30 PM

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Editorial: Time for GOP independence during shutdown

Washington’s GOP lawmakers mumble about the outcomes and vote with the crowd. Act to move the budget process in a new direction.

Seattle Times Editorial

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WASHINGTON’S get-along, go-along Republican members of Congress must start showing some independence. A good place to begin is by voting “no” on the wacky ideological diversions of their fringe colleagues.

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, who aspires to a moderate label, laments the failure of the House and Senate to come to a reasonable compromise, but casts votes that led to the government shutdown.

“I will do everything within my power to find a solution to this problem,” Reichert said in a news release.

That is, everything but send a message by refusing to support an expensive, pointless and harmful defunding of government.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the fellow with the beleaguered, hangdog countenance in all those recent photos, could use a little help. He has caved in repeatedly to the tea-party crowd, in part because the Reicherts of Congress will not step forward.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Talking Points, is no better. Ostensibly the fourth-ranking member of the GOP caucus, the Spokane Republican stands before the microphones and mouths the daily party line.

She decries the Senate’s failure to deal with a flurry of last-minute offers to keep the government running, which was shut down by a repudiation of the health-care legislation that is the law of the land and has the imprimatur of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has the power and the authority to do the real work of examining budgets, reviewing federal finances and taking hard votes. Do they ship real legislation to the Senate and work out differences in conference committees? No, not even remotely close.

What American taxpayers have gotten instead is high drama, no serious legislative work and a mindless shutdown of routine government services that will have real consequences throughout the land.

The milquetoast response of the Republicans in the state delegation is shameful. Instead of meekly going along with the crowd, they should push for a substantive legislative process.

Oh, and please do not lay this off on some intraparty rule about how votes are counted ahead of time behind closed doors.

Washington voters will respect Republican representatives who attempt to lead and who promote principles of good government. This pack behavior of going along with the howling mob is cowardly, not conservative.

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