49 Republicans Who Say Shutting Down The Government Over Obamacare Is A Big Mistake


governmentshutdown 3x2The government shut down on Tuesday, thanks to a set of Republicans who refuse to pass any legislation to continue funding it unless the law also defunds or delays Obamacare. But while that handful of people think it’s smart strategy to close national parks, discontinue nutrition programs, and put on hold a host of other government programs, many others in the party are waking up to the truth: If a shutdown occurs, Republicans — and their demand to repeal Obamacare — will be blamed.

A poll released Monday backed up this idea, finding that 46 percent of people would blame Congressional Republicans for a shutdown.

Because they know that a shutdown would be bad for the economy and that their party will be blamed, even staunch detractors of Obamacare are coming out against their Republican colleagues and demanding they ditch their shutdown strategy. Here’s a list of who is telling their Republicans to stop trying to defund Obamacare and making their party look bad:

The GOP Members of the House

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): Asked on MSNBC on Monday if a shutdown was “going to hurt the Republicans,” Cole said, “I do, but more importantly I think it’s going to hurt the American people.”

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “I’m prepared to vote for a clean resolution tomorrow… It’s time to govern. I don’t intend to support a fool’s errand at this point.”

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): “Obamacare is definitely not ready for prime time. But I do not want the government to shut down. I think after voting against it some 40 times, we have represented our constituents and made our point.”

Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY): “From my perspective, the desired end state remains the same — a delay of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and a temporary lifting of the sequester — both to January 2015… However, we need a successful strategy to get that implemented, and this approach will not do it.”

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY): “The circus created the past few days isn’t reflective of mainstream Republicans — it projects an image of not being reasonable. The vast majority of Republicans are pretty level-headed and are here to govern.”

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY): “[A]s a lifelong and consistent supporter of women’s rights and health care, I do not support addressing divisive social issues such as access to birth control on a last-minute continuing resolution.’’

Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances… That doesn’t work, it’s wrong, and, you know, Obamacare passed. We have to try to defund it, we have to try to find ways to repeal it. But the fact is, we shouldn’t be using it as a threat to shut down the government.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA): “We’re pretty much out of options at this point. They’re all giddy about it. You know who benefits the most here from a shutdown? The Democrats benefit and they know that.”

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL): “The shutdown doesn’t do anything to help our reputation as an incompetent Congress,.. People hire us not to get to this point in the first place.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We have to stay on the right side of public opinion… Shutting down the government puts us on the wrong side. The fight is on the debt limit.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA): Wolf warned that his party will be blamed in the case of a shutdown. “That’s the battle that’s going on in my party. There are some that are saying, ‘shut it down! … If we shut the government down, who’s going to fund the [Veteran Affairs] Hospital? Who’s going to fund the veteran who doesn’t have a leg? Who’s going to fund the FBI who’s working on a counter-terrorism case? Who’s going to fund cancer research?”

The Republican Senators

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “I think we should make every effort we can to make sure we stop this law but I don’t believe they should shut down the government to do so, and I don’t think that is a strategy that is good for America.”

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): “I don’t think this is the battlefield where it needs to be fought”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard… as long as Barack Obama is president the Affordable Care Act is gonna be law. I think some of these guys need to understand that if you shut down the federal government, you better have a specific reason to do it that’s achievable.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): ” I’d love to [defund Obamacare] too. But shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do. Plus, it’s going to do great harm to the American people if we pursue that course. We’ve been there. It didn’t work.”

Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN): “Here’s the hard truth: President Obama will not overturn his signature legislation so long as he is president and the Democrats have control of the Senate. Along with these political realities, refusing to pass legislation to keep the government funded will not stop Obamacare from going into effect.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): “It’s not an achievable strategy. It’s creating the false impression that you can do something when you can’t. And it’s dishonest.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): As the New York Times reported on Monday, “Senator Susan Collins of Maine became the latest Republican to criticize her House colleagues, saying on Sunday that an effort to link the health care amendments to the budget was ‘a strategy that cannot possibly work.'”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): The Washington Post reports that Corker compared shutting down the government to a way that buffalo were slaughtered in the Old West: “I know when you get led into a box canyon what that means… Box canyon, here we come.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “[W]e’re at the point now where we can’t shut down the government. It’s like burning down the house to get rid of the mice or rats… I don’t think very many think that a government shutdown is in the best interests of the economy and will actually accomplish the goal that’s set out.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “My personal belief is the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to be intelligent and smart about it and gradually just work on it, work it through… to expect the government to shut down is not the way to do it.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL): “I am one of those who says, let’s not shut down the government just because you don’t get everything you want… That is an overwriting of our mandate. I think that our mandate was to not raise taxes, which we have succeeded in achieving.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “I do think we need to deal with the underlying problem of overspending and we have to deal with the problem of Obamacare, but those ought to be handled outside of the context of a government shutdown.”

Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID): “There isn’t anybody that thinks that Obamacare is going to get defunded. It cannot happen…. We were elected to govern – you don’t govern by shutting down the government.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “[I]t’s foolish.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): “I’m totally in favor of the goal, but this vehicle isn’t going to achieve it.”

The Governors

Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL): “I don’t believe we need to shut down government… I’m not being critical of our congressmen. I know they are trying to take a stand. But we don’t need to turn the tide of public opinion against us.”

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS): “Many of the members of this party do not want to fund Obamacare, but what we have to do as governors who work with our legislators is realize the reality of being able to get something passed.”

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ): “I think there’s got to be a solution other than that. And I don’t think that we should be doing that. I don’t think — and I quite frankly, be fair, I don’t think you hear responsible Republican leaders advocating a shutdown of the government.”

Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R-ND): “I’ve never felt that shutting down government function is a wise thing to do politically because I think, whoever is involved in it, it’s the Congress, regardless of what party they’re affiliated with, that will be blamed by the public… And so, to me, I don’t see what it accomplishes.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA):”[A]t this point it is the law and we are going to implement it in a way that is least offensive and harmful to the state of Virginia… I don’t think we should shut government down over this. We need to keep fighting through the process.”

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI): “I believe the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable, and will have a negative impact on the economy of my state… But I don’t extend that to the point that we should shut down the government over it.”

The Old-School Conservatives

Former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT): Bennett penned an op-ed recounting his own experience with a shutdown back in the 90s. “There’s a lesson here for those who think that shutting down the government will force President Obama’s hand on Obamacare,” Bennett concluded. “The best way to help him put that aside and regain his stature as a leader would be to give him an opportunity similar to the one Gingrich gave Clinton… I’ve seen this movie before, and I know how it comes out.”

Sec. of Defense and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) “This is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern.”

Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R): “Republicans know it is a loser for them.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: “So as we get closer to these deadlines, there needs to be an understanding of that, or politically it’s quite dicey for the Republican Party.”

Bruce Josten of the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or the American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: “We’re more effective tactically not to use a shutdown of some kind to pursue the … anti-Obamacare objective. I don’t think that will be as effective.”

The Conservative Pundits

Matt Dowd: “Everybody is going to lose when the government shuts down. Nobody is going to think better about either party,” Dowd warned. “Republicans will lose more in the course of this if this continues over time.”

David Frum: “All in all, it’s hard to see any positive outcome emerging for Republicans from this confrontation. Yet the party is charging forward anyway…. Even when pressed to do something overwhelmingly likely to end in disaster, as this shutdown looks likely to do for Republicans, the party has no way to stop itself. It stumbles into fights it cannot win, gets mad, and then in its anger lurches into yet another fight that ends in yet another loss.”

Doug Holtz-Eakin: Holtz-Eakin says that Republicans have “put themselves in a corner” and that their strategy won’t work. “The public budget debate has been hijacked by a vociferous minority of activist conservatives aligned with a number of outside activist groups led by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Jim DeMint,” he wrote in an op-ed against the shutdown approach.

Charles Krauthammer: Krauthammer deemed his fellow GOPer’s approach to defunding Obamacare misguided, going so far as to call them the “suicide caucus.”

Matt Lewis: “[T]he defund scheme is (unfortunately) absurd,” Lewis wrote, arguing that it “cannot end well.”

Rich Lowry: “The strategy seems tantamount to believing that if Republican politicians clicked their wing tips together and wished it so, President Barack Obama would collapse in a heap and surrender on his party’s most cherished accomplishment.”

Bill O’Reilly: On his show on FOX, O’Reilly warned against anti-Obamacare “hysteria” and told Republicans not to shut down the government, or “Washington would become Detroit, a place completely out of control.”

Karl Rove: “It’s an iron law that Republicans get blamed for any government shutdown, no matter who controls the White House or Congress.”

Nicolle Wallace: A former spokesman for President Bush, Wallace compared the radical wing of the GOP that’s moving toward a shutdown to a two year old trying to run a red light on a scooter. “When Republicans run into the street despite the fact there’s a flashing red light,” she said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “they’re gonna get hit by the cars and killed.”

George Will: In a piece titled “Shutdown would hand president more excuses,” Will excoriated Republicans for drumming up drama that will win them no victories. ” Republicans should vote,” he wrote, “more in sorrow than in anger, to fund the government (at sequester levels, a significant victory) and to increase the debt ceiling. ”


This post has been updated.

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Jed Lewison at DailyKos notes that while these Republican Senators and Representatives are speaking out against the shutdown, virtually all of them voted for the very poison-pill laden versions of the continuing resolution that they are denouncing.

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Christopher Butterfield is an intern at ThinkProgress.