Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, called the federal government shutdown on Tuesday a "phony crisis," and blamed the far-right wing of House Republicans for the failure of Congress to pass an appropriations bill.
"They (House Republicans) are shutting the government down because they say the Affordable Care Act is so detrimental," DeFazio said on a phone interview, referring to House GOP rhetoric denouncing President Barack Obama's signature health care law. "If the Affordable Care Act is really that bad, it will be apparent to people. But I don't think it's going to be bad."
The Congressman said the budget gridlock is the result of 20-30 "ultra-radical, libertarian anarchists who are thrilled to shut the government down." The rest of the opposition in the House, he said, is due to fear of primary challengers some House Republicans could face in primaries in 2014.
"We hope this is short term," DeFazio said. "This is something we will survive."
He added he has more concern at recent talk of extending the shutdown to a pending vote to raise the federal debt ceiling in two weeks. If that happens, DeFazio said, the federal government could be looking higher bond rates and impacts that could ripple through the economy.
DeFazio's congressional staff was still operating at its normal level Tuesday.
"We're getting more calls than we normally get on a daily basis," DeFazio said. "The problem is we can intake the problems, but the agencies can't address the problems at the moment."
If the shutdown persists more than a few days, DeFazio said he will begin to furlough some staff.