Dealing with the federal government shutdown dominated Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s monthly news conference on Thursday.
Governor Herbert says President Obama needs to get Republicans and Democrats in room, close the door and keep everybody there until they work out a compromise that gets the government running again. Speaking to reporters at KUED Channel 7, the governor said President Obama should not have allowed the government to shut down in a dispute over the Affordable Care Act.
“Leadership has got to come from the top," Herbert said. "In the words of Harry Truman, y’know, the buck stops here in terms of the executive branch and the president’s office. There’s a lack of leadership in Washington DC, and I place blame at the president’s feet for the lack of leadership.”
Herbert said furloughs for federal workers and closure of the national parks are damaging communities in Utah and hurting state revenue. But he wouldn’t criticize Utah Senator Mike Lee for leading efforts to link defunding the Affordable Care Act with a bill that would fund the government.
Herbert told reporters, “I know the argument has been made, ‘We don’t want to shut down the federal government. Senator Lee has certainly made that argument. We just want to have the debate on the funding of the Affordable Care Act.”
Herbert says he is glad to see some money has been found to keep the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, or WIC, functioning in Utah at least temporarily.