Moderate GOP congressman offers dim assessment of D.C. — and a sliver of hope

     U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent expressed some Monday in harrisburg that his hard-right colleagues in Congress are coming around to the ways of governing by compromise. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent expressed some Monday in harrisburg that his hard-right colleagues in Congress are coming around to the ways of governing by compromise. (Mary Wilson/for NewsWorks)

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent is spreading his message of dismay about polarization in the nation’s capital.

    “Today, Washington is broken,” he said in a speech Monday before the Pennsylvania Press Club.

    As evidence, he pointed to the recent government shutdown, inaction to redistribute sequestration cuts, and the Senate Democrats’ move to eliminate the use of the filibuster.

    But Dent offered a sliver of good news.

    Some of his Republican colleagues who have been slow to accept compromise in the past may be coming around to the idea, he said.

    “I think many are smarter now, recognizing the limitations that we face in a divided government, and that every major bill we’ve passed this year has had to have bipartisan coalitions,” he said. “And that’s got to be the path going forward.”

    Dent represents Lehigh County and parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Northampton counties.

    He became the face of the moderate Congressional Republicans in October when he urged his colleagues to end the government, which was forced by those who insisted the Affordable Care Act should be repealed.

    While disputing the idea that the Republican Party is in crisis, Dent acknowledged rifts in the GOP over legislative tactics. He said they don’t necessarily signify policy differences.

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