AFP Photo/Jewel Samad
In the days since Republicans in the House of Representatives forced a government shutdown by refusing to fund the federal government unless Democrats agreed to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, the GOP has struggled to find a convincing way to defend their actions to a skeptical public. Although Party leadership has made a concerted effort to shift the blame for the crisis to President Obama and the Democrats, rank-and-file House members have repeatedly undermined those attempts with statements on the shutdown that range from bizarre to downright offensive.
Here are five of the worst statements that House Republicans have made about the government shutdown that they caused:
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) committed a classic Kinsley gaffe on Thursday, when he attempted to explain the Republican Party’s motivation for refusing to pass a clean budget bill to re-open the government.
“We’re not going to be disrespected,” the second-term congressman told The Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
Surely the 800,000 Americans who have been furloughed because Stutzman won’t be “disrespected” eagerly await an answer on why they can’t go back to work.
“The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves,” Neugebauer told the ranger, who was carrying out her orders to keep the World War II memorial closed.
“I’m not ashamed,” the ranger told the congressman.
“You should be,” he replied.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed an ethics complaint against Neugebauer for violating a House rule that requires members to behave in “a manner that reflects the creditably on the House.”
Genuinely crazy congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) once again demonstrated his way with words last Wednesday, when he released a statement assailing Democrats for voting down a piecemeal bill to fund the Veterans Administration throughout the shutdown.
“There is no other way to put it. Democrats are curb-stomping veterans,” the statement reads.
“What kind of person intentionally attacks disabled heroes because he’s certain his allies in the media will falsely blame his opponents?” the statement later adds, referring to President Barack Obama.
In reality, 3.6 million veterans are in danger of losing their benefits due to the House GOP’s intransigent opposition to the Affordable Care Act — opposition which Stockman endorses in the strongest possible terms.
Over 100 members of Congress have pledged to donate or refuse their paychecks while the government drags on, but Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) isn’t one of them.
When Congressman Terry was asked if he intends to keep his paycheck throughout the crisis that he and his colleagues caused, he replied “dang straight.”
“[Y]ou know what? I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college, and I’ll tell you we cannot handle it,” Terry said of foregoing his pay. “Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been furloughed also “cannot handle” losing their paychecks, and would like to go back to work and earn their salary. Unfortunately, thanks to lawmakers like Terry, they can’t.
While much of Congress is focused on resolving the government shutdown, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) is already looking forward to the next crisis: whether or not to raise the debt ceiling.
“You’re seeing the tremor before the tsunami here,” Yoho said of the shutdown in an interview with The Washington Post. “I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling.”
Yoho, who worked as a large-animal veterinarian before winning election to the House in 2012, added that “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.”
Suffice it to say that the experts disagree.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr