Over the last couple of weeks, the political world’s attention has shifted quickly from congressional Republicans having shut down the federal government to the Affordable Care Act’s rollout woes, but the latter hasn’t been forgotten just yet.
The above clip shows Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) fielding a question at a recent local forum and the folks at Colorado Pols transcribed the relevant portion (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the heads-up):
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Congressman, once again you’re only telling half the story. On March 23rd 2013, the Senate passed its budget resolution, and you could have started a conference committee right then. But for six months, Speaker Boehner refused to appoint the conferees. And the Senate Democr–I mean Senate Republicans, filibustered Harry Reid’s attempt to appoint conferees. So instead of voting to defund Obamacare 46 times in that six months, we could have been having a conference committee. Why didn’t we have a conference committee? Because it was your strategy to shut down the government and threaten default. And that’s what this is all about, and you know it.TIPTON: Well I’ll correct you, because you are wrong.AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good.TIPTON: It was never my strategy to shut down the government. As I stated from the very beginning, I did not want to see government shut down. I never voted to shut down government. And it is disingenuous to be asserting that only the Republican can play politics….
In this case, just about everything the audience member said was true. The dozens of repeal votes took place over more than six months, but when it comes to budget talks and the shutdown, the local voter got it right, and when Tipton said otherwise, the congressman was wrong.
For that matter, it’s not “disingenuous” to say Republican were “playing politics” when they shut down the government for no apparent reason, since that’s pretty much exactly what happened.
But just as important was Tipton saying, “I never voted to shut down government.” I emphasize this not just because the Colorado Republican is misleading the public, but also because I suspect this will be what nearly all House Republicans say over the next year, when they’re forced to defend their fiasco.
The problem for the GOP is that the claim is so easy to disprove – House Republicans voted, en masse, for resolutions intended to fail because they wanted to shut down the government. Once the shutdown began, it was Republicans who bragged about the stoppage, and Republicans who admitted that they were responsible. The crisis was resolved when Republicans gave in.
How many times did Colorado’s Scott Tipton break ranks and vote with Democrats against his party’s ridiculous tactics? None.
Obviously, the congressman’s dishonesty matters on its own, but be prepared to hear most of Tipton’s GOP colleagues repeat the same lie quite a bit as the 2014 midterms draw closer.
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