Fact Sheet: Even Republicans Are Against the House Republicans’ Shutdown Strategy

House Republican leaders have given in to Tea Party demands to shut down the government unless they can defund the Affordable Care Act and give insurance companies free rein over health care yet again. But other Republicans and conservative-leaning organizations know that this strategy is a bad idea.

See for yourself.

  • Former Bush Advisor Karl Rove wrote that “There is, however, one issue on which independents disagree with Republicans: using the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare. […] Even the defund strategy’s authors say they don’t want a government shutdown. But their approach means we’ll get one. […]  It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.” [Wall Street Journal9/19/13]
  • “The powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday urged Congress not to play with fire by risking a government shutdown or debt ceiling-caused default. In a letter to members, the big business organization took direct aim at House Republican plans announced earlier Wednesday to use an Oct. 1 shutdown deadline and mid-October default deadline to try to stop the implementation of ObamaCare.” [The Hill9/18/13]
  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board compared this kind of plan to “threaten(ing) to crash their Zeros into the aircraft carrier of ObamaCare” and a “Kamikaze mission” that “rarely turns out well, least of all for the pilots.” Beyond the politics, the Journal wrote, “[t]his all-or-nothing posture also usually results in worse policy.” [Wall Street Journal9/16/13]
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) criticized the efforts of some in his party to use the threat of shutting down the government to force defunding of ObamaCare, warning the move was politically “quite dicey” and unrealistic.” [The Hill9/18/13]
  • Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, said: “The only way Republicans will lose the House is to shut down the government or default on the debt. Shutting down the government is not in the best interests of the American people and it makes you look politically irresponsible.” [Politico7/26/13]
  • Senator John McCain (R-AZ) 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.  [CNN,9/16/13]
  • Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said “I actually don’t think it’s a smart strategy to shut down the government as a method of defunding Obamacare.” [NewsOn68/22/13]
  • Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said “Rather than sort of-swinging for the fences and take this entire law out … I think there are more effective ways of achieving that goal.  We think we can do better by delaying this law. … I think there is going to be a better strategy to actually achieve our goal of ultimately delaying and ultimately replacing Obamacare.” [CBS Face the Nation8/4/13]
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said “Some Republicans point out that even if funding for Obamacare is eliminated in the continuing resolution, much of the law will still stand because of mandatory health care spending enacted under the Affordable Care Act. Many Republicans have stark memories from the Clinton-era shutdown fights and believe the GOP took the lion’s share of the blame for a politically disastrous fight. ‘We should do everything we can to delay the individual mandate for a year. But my view is that this is not really what the public is interested in. You shut the government down: That means people lose Social Security checks,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). ‘I don’t think linking the two is a very good idea.’” [Politico,7/31/13]
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said “I appreciate Sen. Cruz’s passion, his intent to want to defund Obamacare. I’d love to do it, too, but shutting down the government and playing to 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 pursued that course.”  [NBC Meet the Press8/4/13]
  • Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said “Burr argued stopping ObamaCare’s funding is not going to be achievable as long as President Obama is in the White House, and that Republicans risked taking the blame if they forced the government to shut down over the issue. […]  ‘I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,’ Burr told journalist Todd Zwilich on Thursday. ‘Listen, as long as Barack Obama is president the Affordable Care Act is gonna be law.’” [The Hill7/26/13]
  • Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) said “‘This plan won’t work,’ Blunt told reporters Wednesday. Blunt noted that he has been a leading congressional critic of the health reform law, arguing that it will hurt businesses and will not improve health care. But ‘there are more effective approaches (to opposing the law) than tying it to a government shutdown,’ Blunt said. ‘I don’t think this is a good way to solve this problem. It’s not strategically going to get us where we need to be.’” [Springfield News-Leader7/31/13]
  • Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said “Oh, I think it’s a silly effort.  What people are really saying who are behind that effort is we don’t have the courage to roll up our sleeves and deal with real deficit and spending decisions. We want to take ourselves out of the debate and act like we’re being principled to the America people by saying, ‘If there’s one dime of funding for Obamacare we’re not going to vote for the CR.’  I don’t look at that as very courageous.  Most of us see through it and realize that these people are really just taking themselves out of the debate. We’ve got an opportunity to get our country right as it relates to fiscal issues. We’ve taken some big steps and when people take themselves out of the game like this, I think people see through it and understand what’s taking place.”  [MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown7/30/13]
  • Congressman Peter King (R-NY) said “There’s no reason to be threatening to bring down the government, let’s make this work get spending cuts we need but the American people get turned off with the threat of terror politics.” [CNN’s State of the Union7/28/13]
  • Governor Scott Walker said “I have made the case that Obamacare is not good for the economy, but I have some real concerns about potentially doing something that would have a negative impact on the economy just for the short term — I think there are other ways to pursue this,” [New York Times8/4/13]