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GOP seeks delay in Obamacare
Griffith, Hurt back compromise to avoid federal shutdown

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith said Saturday that he planned to vote later that night for a compromise which he hopes the Senate will accept to avoid a shutdown of the federal government.

The compromise includes amendments to delay for one year much of the new federal health care law and eliminate the tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a partial government shutdown Tuesday.

Griffith, R-Salem, said he also planned to vote for a bill to ensure U.S. troops get paid in the event of a government shutdown.

He aid he feels the Republican-controlled House is offering the Democrat-controlled Senate a compromise and “an olive branch.”

The House Republicans want to defund the Affordable Care Act, Griffith said. He added that the compromise facing a vote Saturday night “gives Democrats another year to see if they could make it work.”

“I’d grab this” offer if he were a Democrat, he said. “I challenge them to vote for this.”

“We don’t like Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and don’t want to shut down government,” he said. “This compromise delays it a year.”

“I know I still won’t like it in a year,” he added.

Senate Democrats pledged to reject the measure even before the House began debating it, and the White House issued a statement vowing a veto in any event, The Associated Press reported. Republicans are pursuing “a narrow ideological agenda ... and pushing the government towards shutdown,” it said, according to the AP.

Fifth District U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham, issued a statement Saturday night: “At this point, I intend to vote once again to fund the operations of the federal government in a reasonable and responsible way. Last week, the House sent a reasonable and responsible continuing resolution to the U.S. Senate for the purpose of funding the government. Despite the well-known looming fiscal deadline, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to wait one week before finally returning to the House his response — which would be to simply continue the status quo.”

That, Hurt said, is not sustainable. He said the Affordable Care Act will drive up costs and reduce choices for health care providers, businesses and families.

Hurt said legislators must “embrace reasonable spending reform and to protect Virginia families from the harmful economic consequences of the president’s health care law. The legislation that the House is considering gives the Senate that opportunity. The House proposal embraces reasonable and responsible spending reform and extends to Virginia families the same reprieve from the harmful effects of the health care law that the president has extended to favored special interests here in Washington. It is my hope that this sensible spending plan becomes law for the United States and Fifth District Virginia families.”

U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, issued statements Friday after they voted for a clean spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 15 and avoid a government shutdown. The continuing resolution passed the Senate 54-44.

Kaine’s statement said: “Today (Friday) I voted in support of a spending bill to continue funding the government and prevent an unnecessary shutdown of operations that would have serious economic consequences in Virginia and across the country. The interim spending measure accepts the House’s proposed spending level through Nov. 15. Since the Senate has accepted the House’s spending target, the House should now act promptly to accept the bill and avoid a shutdown.

“Some in the House are unsatisfied with a clean spending bill and want to additionally use the threat of shutdown to defund the Affordable Care Act. Had the Senate wanted to, we also could have used the threat of shutdown to force a vote on a Farm Bill or our immigration reform proposal. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do business. We should have policy debates in the normal way and not let them intrude on basic responsibilities like operating government and honoring our fiscal obligations.”

It added that throughout last week, Kaine urged his Senate colleagues to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government, and in remarks on the Senate floor, he outlined the consequences of a shutdown. He also condemned the continued pattern of crisis-budgeting during a Senate Budget Committee hearing, it said.

Warner’s statement on Friday said: “We’ve wasted a week on political shenanigans while every minute we wait brings us closer to a government shutdown, which will hurt the economy and unfairly punish Virginia workers and families. We cannot allow ideological issues to stop us from funding the basic operations of the government, and we should be working to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.”


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