A year ago today was a dark day for Washington. Like, literally dark — the Republican Party turned off the lights to the federal government, holding the economy hostage to try to score political points. It didn’t work.
In fact, all the government shutdown did was suck $24 billion out of the US economy, while leaving the Republican Party deeply damaged. It’s easy to associate the shutdown with the likes of Ted Cruz, the man who drives the GOP strategy. But it’s not just Ted Cruz who supported the shutdown. It’s nearly every Republican Senate candidate in key races and a slew of 2016 frontrunners.
Their support manifested itself in different ways. Cory Gardner voted for the shutdown, risked default by voting against raising the debt ceiling, voted to prolong the shutdown, and then hobnobbed with Karl Rove and his big-money donor friends while America paid the price for his actions.
David Perdue wasn’t lucky enough to cast an actual vote for the shutdown, so he just championed it from the sidelines — he even bemoaned that it didn’t go further, saying, “Shutting this government down doesn’t bother me a minute. But if you want to shut it down, shut it down.”
Bill Cassidy signed a letter urging Leadership to force a shutdown. Tom Cotton made clear in the aftermath that he had no regrets about voting to shut down the government. Thom Tillis apparently wanted the shutdown to go on longer, stating that he “could not have supported” the legislation that finally put it to an end. The list goes on and on.
The Republican Party has become more and more extreme in recent years, moving way to the right as they became one with the Tea Party. Today’s candidates embody that stark reality. This slate of candidates will stop at nothing to assert their ideological purity.
The shutdown may be a year behind us, but the Shutdown Party lives on.
Charleston Gazette Editorial Attacked Capito For “Shamefully” Supporting The House Continuing Resolution That Threatened To Shut Down Federal Government. According to an editorial published by the Charleston Gazette, “The U.S. government officially will run out of money Tuesday, Oct. 1. House Republicans – who have voted more than 40 times to wipe out the 2010 Affordable Care Act – passed stopgap funding through mid-December, but without money for ACA. They know that the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate won’t accept this destruction of health insurance for millions more ‘working poor’ American families. Presumably, the Senate will restore ACA funding and send the bill back to the House, producing another Washington stalemate. Shamefully, both of West Virginia’s Republican representatives, Shelley Capito and David McKinley, voted to kill the ACA.” [Charleston Gazette – Editorial, 9/24/14]
2013: Capito Voted Five Times For Republican Plans That Would Shutdown The Federal Government. [House Vote 505, 10/1/13; House Vote 478, 9/20/13; House Vote 498, 9/29/13; House Vote 502, 9/30/13; House Vote 504, 9/30/13]
Cassidy, John Fleming And Steve Scalise Signed A Letter Urging Leadership To Shut Down The Government. According to Business Report, “U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, along with his Louisiana Republican colleagues John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, recently signed a letter urging their party’s leadership to ‘affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.” Some conservatives argue Congress should allow a partial government shutdown Oct. 1 rather than continue to fund the Affordable Care Act. But when speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club today, Scalise stopped short of saying he wouldn’t vote for any bill that contained funds for the ACA.” [Business Report, 8/26/13]
Cassidy Joined More Than One Third Of U.S. House Republicans In Urging The Leadership to Force A Government Shutdown Unless ObamaCare Was Defunded. According to The Advocate, “U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy joined more than one-third of U.S. House Republicans in urging the leadership to threaten to force a government shutdown unless ObamaCare is defunded. Previously, Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, was hesitant to weigh in strongly on whether he would back any kind of shutdown, arguing that he could not support such an effort if it affected expenditures, such as cutting off dollars for the nation’s military and veterans.” [Advocate, 8/25/13]
Cotton’s Spokeswoman Said That Cotton “Strongly Supported All Efforts To Defund, Delay, And Ultimately Repeal Obamacare, Regardless The Legislative Approach.” In an opinion in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette John Brummett wrote, “We in Arkansas have now foisted on the nation one of those Republican zealots, a real doozy going by the name of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton. So I endeavored Tuesday to determine if Our Zealot Tom was in lock-step on this shutdown scenario with Tea Party loons such as U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. […] Rabbitt: “Well, since you didn’t send me to the story you’re referencing, it’s a bit difficult to comment on it. I would assume you mean 71 signers of a letter to leadership about defunding Obamacare. If I am correct then your answer is that he generally prefers consulting with colleagues in person, rather than joining letters. But he strongly supports all efforts to defund, delay and ultimately repeal Obamacare, regardless the legislative approach.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 8/7/13]
Cotton Did Not “Regret” Voting To Shutdown The Government And Instead Accused Democrats Of Not Compromising Over The Affordable Care Act. According to the Associated Press, “Cotton and other Republicans, however, are trying to shift the shutdown talk back to the health care law. Cotton, who has targeted Pryor over his vote for the overhaul in 2010, has criticized Pryor and the Democratic Senate for not supporting House-backed proposals to re-open government in exchange for concessions on the health law — including delaying its implementation. ‘My only regret about those votes before the shutdown is the Senate Democrats so stubbornly refused to accept even modest changes to Obamacare,’ Cotton said.” [Associated Press, 10/25/13]
Cruz Argued That The Shutdown Was A Triumph; Said “We Elevated The Debate Over What A Disaster, What A Train Wreck, How Much Obamacare Is Hurting Millions Of Americans.” According to TIME, “Texas Senator Ted Cruz argued to powerful Iowa Republicans on Friday and that the partial government shutdown was a triumph because it got people talking, despite the fact that it ended in a compromise that funded the healthcare law he vowed to block. ‘We elevated the national debate over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much Obamacare is hurting millions of Americans across the country,’ Cruz told around 600 Iowa Republicans at the state GOP’s annual fund raising dinner.” [TIME,10/26/13]
Cruz Helped Instigate The Government Shutdown. According to Politico, “Indeed, the senator and potential 2016 presidential contender’s crusade has given the GOP, helped instigate the first federal government shutdown in 17 years and overshadowed Obamacare’s bumpy rollout that began Oct. 1. The GOP took a hammering in public polls — Gallup said Oct. 9 the Republican Party’s favorability rating collapsed to an all-time low of 28 percent.” [Politico, 10/16/13]
Ernst Said “We Must Stand Firm In The Fight Against” The Affordable Care Act On The First Day Of The Government Shutdown. According to a Facebook post by state Sen. Joni Ernst, Ernst said, “LIKE if you believe that on this first day of Obamacare exchange signups, we must stand firm in the fight against this damaging, job-killing legislation. #standfirm.” [Sen. Joni Ernst – Facebook, 10/1/13]
Mike Littwin: Gardner Voted For The Shutdown And Against Raising The Debt Ceiling Which Risked Default. According to a column by Mike Littwin, in the Greeley Tribune, ‘And there is another big issue, but it works the other way: the government shutdown. Gardner not only voted for the shutdown, he also voted, just recently, against raising the debt ceiling, risking default.’ [Mike Littwin-Greeley Tribune, 3/4/14]
- October, 2013: Gardner Voted Against Shutdown-Ending Compromise Agreement That Funded The Federal Government Through January 15, 2014 And Suspended Federal Debt Ceiling Through February 7, 2014. In October 2013, Gardner voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, ‘require[d] the Health and Human Services Department to verify the income qualifications of people who apply for tax subsidies under the 2010 health care overhaul. [. . .] [and] provide[d] continuing appropriations for government operations through Jan. 15, 2014, reflecting an annual discretionary level of about $986 billion. It would allow federal borrowing to continue through Feb. 7, 2014, after the president certifies that the U.S. Treasury cannot pay its obligations and would set up an expedited process for Congress to consider resolutions of disapproval for the debt limit increase authorized by the bill. It also would provide for retroactive pay for federal employees who worked through the government shutdown that began on Oct. 1, 2013 and for workers furloughed during that time.’ The vote was on a motion to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill, which the House agreed to by a vote of 285 to 144. Afterwards, the bill was sent to the president, who signed it into law. [House Vote 550, 10/16/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 2775; Congressional Quarterly, 10/16/13]
- October, 2013: Gardner Voted Against Calling For A ‘Comprehensive, Clean Continuing Resolution To End The Government Shutdown.’ In October 2013, Gardner voted against an amendment that, according to Congressional Quarterly, ‘add[ed] language to the title of the bill indicating support of a ‘comprehensive, clean continuing resolution to end the government shutdown.’’ The bill itself temporarily funded only the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service through December 15, 2013. The House rejected the amendment to the bill title by a vote of 161 to 228. [House Vote 549, 10/14/13; Congressional Actions, H.J.Res. 80; Congressional Quarterly, 10/14/13]
Gardner Met With Karl Rove And ‘Big-Money’ Republican Donors During The Government Shutdown And Disastrous Flooding In Colorado. According to the Colorado Independent, ‘During the government shutdown last August, two weeks after the heavens opened up and turned north-eastern Colorado into a national disaster flood zone, Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner met with Karl Rove and big-money GOP donors to hobnob. As KDVR’s Eli Stokols reported last week, Ken Vogel recalls the ill-timed Gardner meeting in ‘Big Money,’ a new book on contemporary campaign finance.’ [Colorado Independent, 7/9/14]
Jindal Said He Would Not “Second Guess” The Tactics Of Republicans In Congress; Said The Fight Over Repealing And Defunding Obamacare Was A Worthwhile Fight. According to ABC News, “Now that a government shutdown has become a reality, Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal, who once wholeheartedly endorsed the Republican tactic to tie government funding to a proposal to defund President Obama’s health care law, is now striking a different tone. Jindal won’t ‘second guess’ congressional Republican strategies in Washington, the Louisiana governor told ABC News today. Instead, he stressed that the states, not Washington, are the ‘one place in America where you can actually see conservative principles being applied and you can actually see them working.’ Before the shutdown went into effect, when Jindal was asked whether defunding Obamacare justified shutting down the government, he replied that it was a fight worth having. ‘I do think our party needs to be more than repeal and defund—I think its needs to be replace,’ Jindal said at a National Press Club event in September. ‘But I think repeal and defund is certainly a fight worth having.’” [ABC News, 10/3/13]
Land Declined To Say If She Believed That Obamacare Should Be Defunded As A Condition For Keeping The Federal Government Open. According to Politico, “She also declined to say whether she still believes, as she said previously, that Obamacare should be defunded as a condition for keeping the federal government open.” [Politico, 2/20/14]
McConnell Refused To Play Constructive Role In Resolving The Shutdown Dispute. According to the Courier-Journal, “With the federal government shutdown about to start its second week on Tuesday, the Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders appear far from any solutions. Instead, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., exchanged accusations Monday over blame for the budget impasse that has furloughed federal workers and shuttered many government services. McConnell, who has been a behind-the-scenes dealmaker in past fiscal showdowns, has not been playing that role so far this time. In remarks on the Senate floor, the Kentuckian pointed to the Senate Democrats as the culprits in the stand-off. In his own remarks, Reid countered that the GOP should end the shutdown before any talks can begin.” [Courier-Journal, 10/7/13]
New York Times: McConnell Had Been At The Forefront Of Each Budget Crisis Since The Republican Landslide In 2010, But “Mr. Fix It” Was Looking More Like “The Invisible Man” In The Looming Government Shutdown.According to the New York Times, “At the climax of each of the fiscal crises that have paralyzed the nation’s capital since the Republican landslide of 2010, Senator Mitch McConnell, the wily Kentuckian who leads the Senate Republicans, has stepped in to untangle the seemingly hopeless knots threatening the economy. But as Congress trudges toward its next budget showdown, the Mr. Fix-It of Washington is looking more like its Invisible Man as he balances his leadership imperatives with his re-election.” [New York Times, 9/23/13]
October, 2013: Paul Voted Against The Shutdown-Ending Compromise Agreement That Funded The Federal Government Through January 15, 2014 And Suspended The Federal Debt Ceiling Through February 7, 2014. In October 2013, Paul voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] continuing appropriations for government operations through Jan. 15, 2014, reflecting an annual discretionary level of about $986 billion. It  allow[ed] federal borrowing to continue through Feb. 7, 2014, after the president certifie[d] that the U.S. Treasury cannot pay its obligations and  set up an expedited process for Congress to consider resolutions of disapproval for debt limit increases included in the 2011 Budget Control Act. It also  provide[d] for retroactive pay for federal employees who worked through the government shutdown that began on Oct. 1, 2013 and for workers furloughed during that time. The bill also  require[d] the Health and Human Services Department to verify the income qualifications of people who apply for tax subsidies under the 2010 health care overhaul.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 81 to 18. Afterwards, the House agreed to the legislation, and the president signed it into law. [Senate Vote 219, 10/16/13; Congressional Quarterly, 10/16/13; Congressional Actions H.R. 2775]
Perdue Endorsed Government Shutdown. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Former Secretary of State Karen Handel has been running as a non-congressional candidate, but endorsed the shutdown and its aim. So did David Perdue, a former Dollar General chief executive, who has raised more cash than anyone in the GOP race but Kingston. Perdue reported $800,000 in contributions — plus $1 million out of his own pocket — raised as of Sept. 30.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/20/13]
Perdue Sided With Ted Cruz In Supporting Government Shutdown. According to the Hotline, “In today’s Hotline, we took a close look at which GOP candidates are jumping on the Ted Cruz bandwagon, and who has kept their distance. The findings reflect the party’s internal divide: a majority of members, even those up for reelection, didn’t join with Cruz on the filibuster. But it was hard to find many challengers, especially those facing competitive primaries, sitting out the fight. […] In Georgia, every Republican sided with Cruz, even businessman David Perdue and Jack Kingston, who recently expressed reservations about tying Obamacare to a government shutdown.” [Hotline, 9/26/13]
Perdue Would Have Voted Against Cloture In The Senate, Effectively Voting For A Shutdown. According to Jim Galloway’s Political Insider column, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ““If they had to choose, every major GOP candidate in next year’s U.S. Senate race would be siding with the filibustering Ted Cruz of Texas, pushing Congress toward a choice between a federal shutdown and the de-funding of Obamacare. In other words, they would be voting opposite Georgia’s current Senate team of Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. U.S. Reps Jack Kingston of Savannah, Phil Gingrey of Marietta, Paul Broun of Athens, and former secretary of state Karen Handel have all weighed in. But until this morning, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue hadn’t been heard on the topic. A 9 a.m. phone call settled the matter. ‘This is why I got into the race. Financial irresponsibility on both sides is what drew me in,’ said Perdue, who initially sounded like a non-aligned party to the ‘defund-or-bust’ debate. ‘Frankly, I don’t see a lot of innocent faces in Washington right now,’ said Gov. Sonny Perdue’s first cousin. Neither did David Perdue appreciate having to weigh in on a problem that he had no part in creating. Had he been in office, it would have been addressed this spring, or two years ago during the first major debt-ceiling confrontation, Perdue said. ‘We keep moving around from one topic to another, without addressing the 800-pound gorilla in the room,’ he said. As a businessman, Perdue said he was appalled by the damage done by Washington. ‘The rhetoric right now does not bode well for the economy,’ he said. And yet, when push came to shove, Perdue said this: ‘I would definitely not vote for cloture at this time.’ In other words, Perdue would not vote to move for Senate passage of the GOP-House bill to defund Obamacare and keep the federal government funded through December. Senate Democrats intend to strip the ‘defund Obamacare’ portion of the measure and pass it back to the House, setting up the shutdown confrontation.” [Political Insider – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/25/13]
Opposed Bipartisan Deal To End Government Shutdown
Perdue Opposed Bipartisan Deal To End Government Shutdown. According to the Associated Press, “All eight Republicans favor repeal of Obama’s health care overhaul. All oppose abortion rights. All three congressmen voted against the bipartisan deal to end the partial government shutdown last fall, and Perdue, Handel and the lesser-known candidates all say they’d have voted the same way.” [Associated Press, 1/27/14]
Video: Perdue Said That Shutting Down The Federal Government “Doesn’t Bother Me A Minute – But If You Want To Shut It Down, Shut It Down.” According to a speech by David Perdue at the Henry County GOP Meeting, “Shutting this government down doesn’t bother me a minute. But if you want to shut it down, shut it down. They didn’t do that. Second thing is, I don’t care what you do, you can’t play around by even backing into a failed threat of defaulting on the federal debt. Cannot do that. […] We can’t play around with that.” [Video – David Perdue Speech At Henry County GOP Meeting, 1/7/14]
Pence On Potential 2011 Shutdown: “I Say Shut It Down. […] You Know Nobody Wants A Government Shutdown, But If We Don’t Make A Stand We’re Going To Shutdown The Future For Our Children And Grandchildren.”According to WISH TV 8, “That wasn’t the case during a Capitol Hill Tea Party rally in 2011. It came in the middle of a budget battle in Congress when Mike Pence was a leader in the House GOP. Then, a shutdown was averted unlike the one we’re currently witnessing, but the rhetoric sounds familiar. ‘I say shut it down,’ said Pence at the time. ‘You know nobody wants a government shutdown, but if we don’t make a stand we’re going to shutdown the future for our children and grandchildren.’” [WISH TV 8, 10/3/13]
Pence On 2013 Shutdown: “I Believe That Efforts To Delay The Implementation Of Obamacare And Also Efforts To Reduce The Negative Impact Of Obamacare On Our Economy […] Are Worthwhile.” According to WISH TV 8, “Tuesday in South Bend Pence offered his view of the current shutdown. ‘I believe that efforts to delay the implementation of Obamacare and also efforts to reduce the negative impact of Obamacare on our economy,’ he said, ‘are worthwhile.’” [WISH TV 8, 10/3/13]
Pence Claimed His Solution To The Government Shutdown Was A Repeal Of What He Called The “Job-Killing” Medical Device Tax Contained Within The Affordable Care Act. According to Indiana Public Media, “Pence says his recommendation is a repeal of what he calls the ‘job-killing’ medical device tax contained within the Affordable Care Act. ‘I truly believe that it has bipartisan support in the House and Senate and if the president is looking for true common ground to move past this government shutdown, to get the government reopened and accept some changes to Obamacare, I think that’s a great place to start,’ he says.” [Indiana Public Media, 10/4/13]
10/16/13: Rubio Voted Against Deal To Reopen Federal Government. According to Washington Post, “Eighteen Senate Republicans vote against the deal to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling, which passed 81-18. Here’s the breakdown of the ‘no’ votes (a full breakdown of the vote is at the bottom of this post): 3 are considered potential 2016 presidential candidates: Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.)” [Washington Post, 10/16/13]
Tillis Said He Would Not Have Voted For The Deal That Ended The Government Shutdown. According to Thom Tillis’ Facebook, “Thom Tillis, conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement regarding Wednesday’s shutdown/debt ceiling deal: ‘Kicking the can down the road does not solve any problems, it only creates a bigger mess. The President and Congress owe the American people a fiscally responsible budget focused on ensuring a sound economy and a safe America. Failure to do so not only threatens the foundation of our economic system, but poses a greater threat to our national security. I could not have supported this legislation.’” [Thom Tillis’ Facebook,10/17/13]
At Time Of Shutdown Tillis Said That “We Must Use Every Tool Available To Us, Including This CR Fight” According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Tillis, back then, told his supporters Obamacare was a ‘a mortal threat to our economy.’ ‘It will decrease healthcare quality and raise healthcare premiums and Republicans should do everything in our power to undo it,’ he said in a press statement. ‘That means we must use every tool available to us, including this CR (continuing resolution) fight.’ The CR fight he appears to be talking about in the written statement is the attempt by House Republicans to fund the government through short-term spending plans called continuing resolutions that included no money for the president’s Affordable Care Act.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 8/11/14]
Tillis Flip-Flopped On His Stance On The Federal Government Shutdown. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Republican Thom Tillis has flip-flopped on how he views the federal shutdown the GOP used last year in a failed attempt to stop Obamacare.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 8/11/14]
In August 2014, Tillis Told Washington Examiner That The Shutdown Fight Was “Well Intentioned” But That Politicians Had To Fund The Government. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Tillis told the Washington Examiner in a story on the newspaper’s website today that the GOP’s fight was ‘well intention’ but politicians must fund the government. His comment is in the seventh paragraph under the subsection ‘What kind of senator?’” [Asheville Citizen-Times,8/11/14]
WRAL Fact Check: Tillis Made A “U-Turn” On Government Shutdown Stance, Supported During Primary And Now Has Made Statements Not In Support Of Shutdown. According to WRAL Fact Check, “THE QUESTION: Has Tillischanged his position on the shutdown? […] THE CALL: Freed from the shackles of a primary showdown, in which many voters would have favored the government shutdown, Tillis is much more circumspect of the government shutdown idea. His statement from September 2013 was unequivocal, saying Republicans ‘must use every tool available to us, including this CR fight’ to battle the Affordable Care Act. In his October 2013 statement, Tillis opposed the legislation that led to the restart of federal operations. It wasn’t until February that Tillis is on record as expressing any skepticism about the shutdown. His insistence to the Examiner that ‘you’ve got to fund government operations’ is a new thread in this conversation. There is a big difference between saying something was ‘well-intentioned’ and calling for Republicans to ‘stand on our principles’ and oppose the ACA with ‘every tool’ available. While Tillis says he opposed the shutdown, he also opposed the legislation that ended the shutdown. Tillis’ statements in the Examiner story get a U-Turn rating on our fact checking scale.” [WRAL Fact Check, 8/15/14]