When Democrats formally assume control of leadership in the House of Representatives, they're expected to push for passage of House rule changes. A Western New York Republican said in his weekly conference call Wednesday that he will support those changes.
Tom Reed, whose 23rd District spans throughout the Southern Tier in Western and Central New York, and covers three of the Finger Lakes, stated that Democrats have made good on promises to pursue changes he sought as co-chair of the House Solving Problems Committee - changes he believes will encourage more bipartisan cooperation and discourage political hijacking by the far fringes of both major parties.
The Democrats' package is not perfect to Reed but certainly good enough to earn his support.
"There are some things that deal with litigation matters under the [Affordable Care Act] and other issues that are potentially problematic from a conservative perspective," Reed said. "But overall, I believe the reforms are a net positive for the American people. Regardless of the consequences that this will bring to me, I will be voting yes on that package tomorrow."
Reed would not elaborate on the suggested threat of political consequences, including who threatened backlash or what those consequences might be. It's very rare, though, for a member of Congress to cross the political aisle to support the rivals' House rules. The last time it happened was in 2001, when Democrat James Traficant, Jr. of Ohio voted in support of Republican House rules.
What Reed will not vote in support of, he admits, is the selection of Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.
Meanwhile, Reed addressed the ongoing federal government shutdown which enters its 13th day on Thursday. President Donald Trump continues to insist funding for a southern border wall must be part of a new spending plan, but lawmakers continue to omit that from any proposals. Reed points again to the far fringes of both political parties as the ones to blame for the ongoing stalemate.
"Democrats will not compromise, in regards to those who are of this extreme portion on the left and think giving in on the wall would be something that would be extremely disconcerting to them," he said. "And then on the right, you see folks who believe there needs to be a wall from coast to coast. That's just not practical."
A meeting inside the White House Wednesday involving Trump, Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer did not result in any breakthroughs, but Reed expressed hope during his conference call that the framework of a deal might still be hammered out "sooner," rather than later.
But not without more partisan back-and-forth as Democrats retake the House.
"I think that is going to be short-term theater that's going to lead to a solution that gets the government up and running," he said.