September 16th, 2013
08:37 AM ET
10 years 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."

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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. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Finally, a Republican with some sense!

    September 16, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. ezduzit757

    The way to get the policies you want is to win elections, not to hold our fragile economy hostage with a gun to its head until you get your way. And The way to win elections is to present something that a majority of the people will vote for – not to gerrymander districts or change voting rules so only people like you can vote.

    September 16, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Tea Party / Randy Paul / Ted Cruz .

    Shut down the government , paralyze the economy , diminish the power and the negotiating capability of the presidency .

    Destroy the country , then pretend to save it !

    September 16, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. old guy in West Virginia

    Threats to shut down the government are the height of irresponsibility. But the question is, will the TP/Wingnuts/Norquist Zombies actually listen to responsible Republicans who keep pleading with them not to take this disastrous course of action? Nobody expects these morons to listen to centrists or progressions (since the wingnuts consider such persons to be the spawn of Satan), but will they listen to their own???? Don't count on it; these idiots think it's better to BE right than to DO right.

    September 16, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Donna

    "They will do or say anything to keep their welfare supporters rolling in taxpayer money."
    Go live on a single person's foodstamps allotment for a week and tell us all about how you were "rolling in money"...after your trip to the ER for malnutrition that is.

    Now don't be dishonest Sniffit and tell the whole story.

    It is not just the thousands in food stamps, under numerous aliases in a few states.
    It is the welfare payments.
    It is the free government paid for housing.
    It is the free Obamacare healthcare.
    It is the free government phone.
    It is the free daycare.
    It is the tax credits that are actually welfare.
    And then there was talk about giving free cable internet access.

    One state estimated governemnt handouts were worth $30-40,000 per year. Hardly starving in the streets. Why work when one is rewarded so handsomely for going to the mailbox and getting the money? Ooops, they don't even have to do that any more.

    September 16, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. just asking

    The way to get the policies you want is to win elections, not to hold our fragile economy hostage with a gun to its head until you get your way. And The way to win elections is to present something that a majority of the people will vote for – not to gerrymander districts or change voting rules so only people like you can vote.

    the republicans in the house did win elections. that is why they are in congress. democrats think they are running a little dictatorship and completely disregard and circumvent the peoples elected representatives. i voted for my representative to get rid of obamacare any way they can. and now the unions agree with me that it is a disaster.

    on gerrymandering, that was invented by the democrats to get black representatives in congress, sure let's stop doing it. and then watch the democrats lose another 30-40 seats in the house as the congressional black caucas almost disappears entirely. and votin gturn out has never been higher. all these false claims of people not being able to vote have no facts to back them up. just leftist lies and fairy tales.

    September 16, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. kirk

    They understand this as hurtful to the majority of Americans, yet feel obligated to do it. The insurance corps are pulling their strings, and they are jumping up and down just fine

    September 16, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Ron -IN

    It is both FOOLISH and STUPID to think that the shutting down of the government will not effect EVERYONE!! The credit rating of the government will drop once again which will increase the interest on ALL money borrowed including the federal debt. This combined with the large number of Americans that make $10.00 a hour or less, who have NO expendable money, which stagnates the economy, preventing the creation of new jobs. This means the tax revenue will basically stay the same and increase in the interest rate will make it even harder to pay down the debt. It is simple math. I just find it amazing in a country were facts and knowledge is easy attained MILLIONS of Americans prefer to ignore it. Shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act is just DUMB, and will cost the Republicans the House in 2014. (so a small part of me is kind of hoping they do it)

    September 16, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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