October 2nd, 2013
08:43 AM ET
11 months ago

GOP congressman: Let's tackle shutdown, debt ceiling at same time

(CNN) - Congress could kill two birds with one stone by ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling all at once, a Republican congressman from New York said Wednesday.

"There is a strong possibility, if [Senate Democrats] were willing to sit down and listen to us, that we would put a package together and solve the problems at once: stop the government shutdown and deal with the debt ceiling," Rep. Michael Grimm said on CNN's "New Day."

The federal government enters Day Two of its shutdown after the Republican-led House tried but failed to pass a piecemeal funding plan Tuesday night to pay for the District of Columbia, veterans affairs and national parks.

Even though it fell short of the required two-thirds vote, it would have had no future in the Democratic-led Senate anyway, and the White House had already promised a veto.

At issue is a strategy led by a group of about 30-40 conservative House Republicans who've been trying to chisel away at the federal health care law by tying it to the short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution.

“Within my own conference, obviously everyone knows, we have a far right faction that we have to deal with and we have to unify,” Rep. Grimm said. “So that’s one challenge for the Republican Party.”

But Senate Democrats aren't budging and refuse to accept any bill that both funds the government and tries to hurt Obamacare.

Also on the horizon is the October 17 deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling or else the government goes into default. While many predict a fierce battle between Congress and the White House, Grimm said he hopes Washington can avoid dragging the country through another fiscal crisis marked by partisan standoffs.

"Let me be clear, there are some that would absolutely deal with it the same way," Grimm told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "I think there are enough of us, though, that understand we cannot fool around with the full faith and credit of the United States."

A new CNN/ORC International survey indicates that a majority of the public would point fingers at Republicans in Congress if the nation's ability to borrow more money is not increased.

Underlining a sense of urgency, the two-term congressman added: "Why not deal with it right now? Let's get everything done and finished."

Grimm is part of a small group of House Republicans that's been trying to get GOP leadership to pass a "clean" continuing resolution that funds the government but excludes anti-Obamacare provisions. They say they can work on changing Obamacare separately, a compromise some Senate Democrats have said they'd be willing to accept.

The number two House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said Wednesday he's been talking to members like Grimm who want to move forward with a clean bill.

"It appears that we may be getting to a place where there are gonna be enough rational Republicans to join with the Democrats and pass...a continuing resolution," Hoyer told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "New Day."

While some 800,000 so-called nonessential federal workers are being furloughed, Grimm said "there's no such thing as a 'nonessential employee'."

"We need to put our country first and take care of those that have been taking care of us," he said. "I want to say to all those people–you are essential to me. If anyone is not essential, it's the U.S. Congress."


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Government Shutdown • Michael Grimm
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Durundal

    Oh for the love of, you cannot 'solve' the debt ceiling – you are simply paying back the bill you owe for the things you ALREADY BOUGHT. Nor is it the duty of the president to 'pass a budget' – these are basic civics tidbits that too many americans seem willfully ignorant of.

    October 2, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  2. Data Driven

    Boy this guy almost fooled us, didn't he? Moderate-sounding. Yeah, let's pass a clean CR; we'll deal with Obamacare later.

    Then he drops this: "If anyone is not essential, it's the U.S. Congress."

    See the mindset? Republicans don't believe in this country or its institutions. Freudian slips like above say volumes about why we're in this predicament in the first place.

    The U.S. Congress, annoying as it is, is in fact "essential" to the United States. Our country is premised on its existence. My message to people who think the idea of a bicameral legislative body is a bad idea is to move to another country, basically. And if you think Congress is not essential, why are you in it, Mr. Grimm? I mean, BESIDES the payday as a lobbyist after your terms are up? Well, perhaps that's reason enough.

    October 2, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. kirk

    Well son talk like that will get you a primary, backed by the Koch brothers, see who's running your party yet? We do, if you don't do exactly as told, you won't be there, no stranglehold there!

    October 2, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Shutting down the government is costing $300 million per day, and now you want to further complicate the differences by escalating it to include the controversy known as the debt ceiling? The Tea Party has only one mission: delay, defund, deny, and destroy. So far, they've completed two of the tasks, delay and defund.

    October 2, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Erin

    Yes, make a budget, increase the debt limit but make sure there is a time-line for a balanced budget in writing! Or it won't happen.

    October 2, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    Let us all REMEMBER this tackle to fire all these congress rethuglicans animals at the same time, I.e, 2014. Period.

    October 2, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. rs

    It's really kinda funny, the GOP (and Right-wing posters here) often say: "We can't let America become Greece", and yet here we are in day 2 of a senseless government shut down driven by 40 hyper-radical lemmings in the House -apparently lead by Mr. Cruz.

    What have they done?

    The took a page from the Italian government circa the 1970s, or the Greek government they so fear us becoming-they "shut it down", and they are too stupid to see a way out. Really? Fund the pieces of government they like? Utter insanity!

    This is the problem- the GOP has drunk too deeply of their "the worst thing you'll ever hear is 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'" meme. People who hate government shouldn't be part of it.

    October 2, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "Let me be clear, there are some that would absolutely deal with it the same way," Grimm told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "I think there are enough of us, though, that understand we cannot fool around with the full faith and credit of the United States."
    -----------------------
    If he actually believed that, then what's the problem? Pick a sensible number that reflects existing spending levels, and vote it into law. What's so hard about that? Nothing. It's only a problem if you have an ulterior motive that supersedes actually governing the country by raising the debt ceiling.

    October 2, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Darlene

    Isn't it funny that now that the Democrats have the upper hand they (Republicans) NOW want to play nice. They want to now sit down and talk. That should have happened a long time ago when the president was trying to get them to come to the table and be adults and try and solve some of our country's problems.

    October 2, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. kirk

    He will be considered a traitor of course, who does he think he is expressing himself in public? There will be none of that, tow the line, stick to the script, or else!

    October 2, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. RIchard Long

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
    – Barack Hussein Obama

    October 2, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. tiffinS

    I don't know what all you libs are upset about... They already stated that there will be no delay in your govt. handout checks so relax!

    October 2, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. Joan

    It seems that there are more and more sensible, moderate Republicans who see the writing on the wall and want to end this stand-off. John Boehner is between a rock and a hard place and some think he caved in to the Tea Party members just to try and save his own job. He had originally said tying the CR to Obamacare was a bad idea but then changed his mind when he said he had to listen to his caucus. Well, now maybe it is time that he listened to the growing number of reasonable members of his caucus. Right now he looks weak , is just a puppet for the extremists and is gaining more wrath from the public day by day. By saying he is again listening to his members and allowing a simple up and down vote on the CR and debt ceiling increase, he could improve his reputation by the general public immensely. The bill would pass and then both parties could get together with their respective budgets and actually do some real compromising and work. Right now the Republican tactics are getting more annoying day by day.

    October 2, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. Tom

    The solution to this mess is for the few remaining moderate Republicans to side with Democrats and defeat the Tea Party terrorists. The ACA has lots of room for improvement (not repeal) and I suspect legitimate input by Republicans for how to improve it would be taken seriously. But the Republicans need to bring ideas to the table, not just whine that they still don't like a law passed three years ago.

    October 2, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "if [Senate Democrats] were willing to sit down and listen to us"

    Teatroll Rosetta Stone says: "If Dems would just cave to our threats and ultimatums and do what we tell them to do, then we wouldn't have to shoot the hostage."

    October 2, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "Republican-led House tried but failed to pass a piecemeal funding plan Tuesday night to pay for the District of Columbia, veterans affairs and national parks."

    And what CNN neglects to inform you is that the reason it required 2/3 to pass is because the GOP/Teatrolls in control of the House deliberately brought them to vote under procedures that would prevent the House Dems from forcing a vote on the "clean" funding legislation. Why? Because the "clean" funding legislation would pass.

    October 2, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    Rep Grimm goes on TV and acts like he's disagreeing with the the fanatics in his party....then goes ahead and votes WITH them on their resolutions. He's a fraud. And this new stunt is nothing but a farce. GIve it up GOP. You are losing ground every day. You know it but are too stupid to accept it

    October 2, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "A new CNN/ORC International survey indicates that a majority of the public would point fingers at Republicans in Congress if the nation's ability to borrow more money is not increased."

    How many times is the GOP leadership going to let Boehner and company misread "national" polls before its leadership finally understand the true meaning of the will of the people?

    Yeah, I know. I know. John Boehner is GOP leadership. In all its drunken glory.

    October 2, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. tom l

    1dem·a·gogue
    noun \ˈde-mə-ˌgäg\

    : a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason

    "strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda."

    I can't believe we have a president that would actually say something like this. Yeah, that's it. The centerpiece of the repubs is make sure that people remain uninsured. That is the definition of a demagogue.

    October 2, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    No!! Stop making demands and start governing and pay YOUR BILLS!!! No negotiations. That train left the station back in April when democrats offered to have conference with you on the budget and you refused them. STOP PLAYING GAMES!!!!

    October 2, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. Data Driven

    @RS,

    It's a golden guarantee that conservatives here who bring up "Greece" know nothing about European history, economics, or current politics. Engage them on those topics and watch the silence become golden.

    October 2, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. Sniffit

    Oh, tom I, ya big silly. What's the GOP/Teatrolls' plan for insuring 48M people and making even the most basic of health care services available to all after they repeal/defund/destroy the ACA, which is widely predicted by experts to insure millions and reduce health care costs and was based in part on the GOP's own ideas? Please, do tell.

    October 2, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "No!! Stop making demands and start governing and pay YOUR BILLS!!! No negotiations. That train left the station back in April when democrats offered to have conference with you on the budget and you refused them"

    Indeed. Dems asked 18 times since April for a conference on the two chambers' different budgets and the GOP/Teatrolls in the House have refused every single time. In fact, their little game of pretending to have offered to conference this time is about as dishonest as it gets, because they've only offered to conference on a very short-term funding bill and are STILL refusing to conference on the budgets passed in April.

    October 2, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. rs

    tom l

    1dem·a·gogue
    noun \ˈde-mə-ˌgäg\

    : a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason

    "strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda."

    I can't believe we have a president that would actually say something like this. Yeah, that's it. The centerpiece of the repubs is make sure that people remain uninsured. That is the definition of a demagogue.
    _____________________________
    Speaking of demagogues, Tom- so for 5 points: Name ONE thing the GOP in Congress have accomplished for this nation since 2010.
    The President is calling out Mr. Cruz and his thoughtless lemmings. THAT is leadership when faced with a political party bent on wrecking the economy (again). Frankly, they're lucky that's all that they are getting at this point- many here would like to see the TEA Party 40 sent to Cuba with the other terrorists who threaten our nation.

    October 2, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. tom l

    @Sniffit the Corporatist
    "Oh, tom I, ya big silly. What's the GOP/Teatrolls' plan for insuring 48M people and making even the most basic of health care services available to all after they repeal/defund/destroy the ACA, which is widely predicted by experts to insure millions and reduce health care costs and was based in part on the GOP's own ideas? Please, do tell"

    I like how you deflect my point and decide to go into another tangent. The ACA is widely predicted by the great CBO (please note sarcasm) to say that there will still be over 25 million uninsured. The way to reduce costs is through competition but you believe that the govt has to foster that competition. I find that to be the poorest way. How about allowing to purchase across state lines? How about a menu of what you want to be covered by? How about this: why don't we take all of those with pre-existing conditions and put them into a big pool with some subsidies there?

    Anyways, I know you'll deflect and tell me how bad the ideas are, that the repubs are evil, that they only want white people to have healthcare and how they want all grandmas to die. Do you see how ridiculous that sounds? Who would WANT that? Nobody. It's demogoguery at its finest.

    I would say to you that repubs have moms, dads, relatives with pre-existing conditions, etc so I think it is quite astounding to say that they repubs central theme is for people to NOT have healthcare. Dude, that's the definition of demagoguery you just can't see it from your hero, President Obama.

    October 2, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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