September 16th, 2013
08:37 AM ET
12 months ago

McCain to House Republicans: Don't shut down government

(CNN) - As some Republicans and Democrats begin to dig in before the next fiscal showdown, Sen. John McCain said Washington is "in for some very serious problems" and called on his colleagues in the GOP to tone down the warnings of a government shutdown.

"Republicans ought to understand if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed–rightly or wrongly–Congress gets blamed," the Arizona Republican said Monday on CNN's "New Day." "We've seen the movie before. It's just some of them weren't around at the time; I was."

On the Senate side, some Republicans have threatened to vote against a short-term spending bill that continues to fund the government past October 1 if that bill includes money for Obamacare. If Congress fails to pass the bill, known as a continuing resolution, Washington faces a government shutdown.

CNN Poll: Who gets blame for govt. shutdown

But the real stalemate will likely happen in the GOP-controlled House. The president said he's "happy" to talk to House Speaker John Boehner about dealing with the so-called sequester, a large sum of forced spending cuts that took effect earlier this year.

"There are ways of doing this, it's just that they haven't been willing to negotiate in a serious way on that," he said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Q&A: The lowdown on the shutdown, or why you should care about the CR

Republicans typically lobby for spending cuts in budget measures, while Democrats tend to focus more on tax increases. This year, a core group of conservative Republicans in the House wants to tie the entire $986 billion annual operating budget to a provision to defund Obamacare. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, introduced such a bill last week.

McCain said there needs to be a "willingness to negotiate" on both sides of the aisle " because we all know we're not going to cut off social security checks" and payments to those in the military fighting overseas. "And for us to say you've got to repeal Obamacare in order to get that done, as Charles Krauthammer, that's a suicide note."

"I hope my colleagues in the House who believe that we need to shut down the government will understand that that's not what the American–they hate government, but they don't want it to stop functioning," McCain argued.

House Republican leaders are trying to find a compromise that pleases conservatives as well as Republicans opposed to using Obamacare as leverage. Last week, leaders postponed a vote on government funding legislation until this week, after many conservatives made it clear they wouldn't back it because it doesn't fully defund the health care law.

Republican leaders crafted a plan to pair a spending blueprint with a separate resolution barring the use of federal funds to implement new health care law.

House GOP leaders delay vote on spending bill after conservatives rebel

It also would require the Senate to vote on defunding the controversial health care law before it could vote on the short-term spending bill.

But conservatives object to that strategy because the Democratic-led Senate would likely reject the resolution and simply pass the spending bill that includes money for new healthcare programs.

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget • Congress • John McCain
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    McCain...too bad the fanatics that run your party are too stupid to realize what they are going to do to themselves if they pull this stunt. I triple-dog-dare them to do it!

    September 16, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    John, John, John: don't you realise that any calls for restraint on the part of your House colleagues wll fall on deaf ears? They are convinced that this will not affect them, since all the evil in the world can be traced to the man who buried you 5 years ago. Everything prior to his innauguration was a Golden Age, where man walked and talked with the animals, where debt and cliamte change did not exist. Clearly, you don't get it, Senator: by further destroying the economy, the GOP is clearly laying the path for a comeback where they will sweep all 50 states, and Evangelical Christians will be elected in NYC and San Francisco. It's written.

    September 16, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  3. rla

    Had it with McCain!! He needs to go back to Arizona before he embarasses himself anymore.. Obama care will hurt Americans and citizens- Go GOP!

    September 16, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    QUESTION: If the House Republicans claim that they are not trying to shut down the government, then why is a Senate Repubilcan telling them not to do it?

    ANSWER: Because they believe that when they tell people that it was all Pres. Obama's fault that *everyone* will believe them.

    September 16, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Al Qaida must be amazed at the damage elected republicans are doing to our country.

    September 16, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. 82ndABNVET

    "We've seen the movie before. It's just some of them weren't around at the time; I was."

    That means you have been in Congress for WAY TOO LONG. If you will please find the exit, that would be much appreciated.

    September 16, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. Data Driven

    "they hate government, but they don't want it to stop functioning," McCain argued"

    McCain pretty much sums up the conservative mindset right there. If you consider government to be necessary evil, you're not going to do a good job running it. As we've seen, and as we're seeing.

    September 16, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Republicans will discover that Americans are not going to be happy when the seniors do not get social security, our military does not get paid, all programs stop, but congress still gets paid. In the words of Erkel, the clueless domestic terrorists say, "Did we do that? It must be Obama's fault."

    September 16, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. S.B. Stein

    This "shutting down of the government" is a foolish tactic. It is the sign of a whinning child who doesn't understand the full consequences of what needs to be done and is done by the government. I guess these people don't care about the people that need the support because there aren't enough well funded charities by the very wealthy to cover the job being done by the government.

    September 16, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is such a colossal fiscal incompetent, that there is no OTHER way, to say ENOUGH, on the squanderous, wasteful spending. McCain is a fool if he really thinks there is any alternative.

    September 16, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Yawn. The House republicants are wanting to drive the country over a cliff because they cannot get their way. This is news, how? We get it already, the teabaggers are a bunch of out of control lunatics with no sense whatsoever and Boner cannot control them.
    Let's see an in depth study by CNN into what makes these loons act like little children... Oh yeah, they won't talk to anyone but FAUX news, and the chance of them doing any actual journalism is 0.

    September 16, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Wake up People!

    Don't steal their thunder Senator, they've been wetting their pants about THIS, since election day.
    If they don't shut it down they will come up with a tiny band aid for a few months. Obstruction is their only leverage over the POTUS.

    I think they might get a small jump in their numbers if they finally started to put the American people ahead of there 8 year temper tantrum. I've seen more diplomacy between my two 3 year old granddaughters, born 5 weeks apart.

    September 16, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Fair is fair

    Screw mc Cain ! Shut it down!

    September 16, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. kirk

    Go ahead, shut it down, the pen and death certificate are waiting

    September 16, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Sniffit

    Oh no...I disagree...please proceed GOPers/Teatrolls...WE DARE YOU.

    September 16, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Southeast

    If they shut down, they should not get paid either, well hell, they haven't done anything to be paid .

    September 16, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. morriekurt

    T party republicants want to shut down the gov. So they can try to blame president. People should feel the consequence of repub. Leadership

    September 16, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. TONE

    Go ahead rethuguligans make my day shut the government down this approach will only motivate me to go out there and get people to vote out you thugs once and for all. What a sorry set of loosers.

    September 16, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Evergreen

    Unlimited funds for wars but not a dime to help Americans stay healthy. Sick people can't work or enlist in the militay. Maybe the GOP should look at this as a national security issue.

    September 16, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    "Republicans ought to understand if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed–rightly or wrongly–Congress gets blamed," [said McCain].

    Congress controls the purse strings; it bears the responsibility. PERIOD.

    September 16, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Is it any surprise the tea folks want to shut down the government? They – and all the Repub base – have a very long history of voting against their own self-interest.

    September 16, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. lolo

    Let them do it. See how much they yell when them ss, military checks stop coming in. Only white America cuts off their noses to spite their faces, because other people do not look or act like them. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Tampa Tim

    The republicans are using Russia and Somalia as their vision of a democracy.

    September 16, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama is such a colossal fiscal incompetent, that there is no OTHER way, to say ENOUGH, on the squanderous, wasteful spending. McCain is a fool if he really thinks there is any alternative.
    -------------------–
    It is just as silly to shut down the government. as it is to default on the debt limit. Any "savings" that you think can be realized by doing so will be squandered by the higher interest rates that we would charged with another credit downgrade.

    September 16, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. Tampa Tim

    Congress still gets paid even though they shut down the government. "What me worry, I will be fine," is the cry of the right wingnuts.

    September 16, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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