Washington (CNN) - The Republican Party’s weekly address didn’t say a single negative thing Saturday about President Barack Obama or the Democratic Party. Not one.
Rather, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-California, struck a positive tone that focused on all the work that remains to be done, by everyone.
“For all the focus on disagreements in Washington, we’ve actually found some common ground this week,” McKeon said in the address, speaking of Obama’s signing of legislation guaranteeing death benefits for the families of fallen American service members, as well as a bill guaranteeing pay for the military.
“We shouldn’t stop there,” the Armed Services Committee chairman said. He went on to speak of the piecemeal funding bills passed by the Republican-majority House of Representatives but rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“President Obama and Senate Democrats should back these bills immediately.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has rejected the measures, saying the entire government should be funded rather than only parts.
Still, McKeon declined to go on the attack.
“Then the President should work with us on plans to reopen the entire government and make sure we do not default on our debts,” he said.
The mild, nonconfrontational language is miles away from the explosive language leveled at the President by the likes of House Speaker John Boehner, who has hammered Obama again and again for refusing to negotiate over the government shutdown or the debt ceiling.
“Sitting down and resolving our differences is exactly what Americans expect their leaders to do, especially at times like this,” McKeon said.
Democrats have argued that they will happily negotiate, but only after the entire government is funded and the threat of the government defaulting on its debt obligation is no longer hanging in the air.
Even on the favorite target of Republicans, Obamacare, McKeon called not for defunding or dismantling but simply “fairness.” One of the GOP’s latest moves on the Affordable Care Act has been to argue that the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance be delayed for one year. Democrats say a delay makes the law economically unfeasible.
The negotiations are “about making sure there’s fairness for everyone under the president’s health care law – so that hardworking people like you get the same relief big businesses have received,” McKeon said.
McKeon also called for dealing with the nation’s debt and spending.
“The longer we go on settling for maybe-next-time, for this notion that putting things off until after the next election is OK, the harder this will get.”