Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

October 20, 2013

George Weeks: Benishek, Camp cast notable votes

In my view, the two U.S. House members representing most of Up North not only cast the right — but also notable — votes last week in favor of the bipartisan compromise to avoid a federal debt default and halt the 16-day government shutdown.

Especially notable was the vote of two-term, 1st District Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who joined four of Michigan’s nine Republicans and all five of its Democratic members in supporting the measures despite strong opposition from tea party and other conservative groups that have been longtime Benishek supporters.

Also notable was support of 12-term, 4th District Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who as chairman of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee is a leader on money issues and has a good working relationship with key Democrats in both chambers.

The other congressman representing a small portion of northern counties, 2nd term, 2nd District Rep. Bill Huizenger, R-Zeeland, was a no vote.

Benishek, who could get a strong Democratic challenge next year from ex-Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon, a former National Guard major general, said he voted as he did to “reopen the government and prevent the country from defaulting.”

Benishek, who represents all of the Upper Peninsula and 17 counties below the bridge, said: “Northern Michigan families deserve a government that’s open and running.”

Not open or running during the shutdown were four national parks in his district: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park.

As noted by Camp in the New York Times: “Now we’re going to shift to oversight of the health care law and clearly there are huge problems. Now we’re going to have to pursue what is this law really doing for Americans. Is it working and is it delivering?”

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