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October 6, 2013

Shutdown is not the solution

NORMAN — As I explained in numerous town hall meetings back in August, government shutdown is harmful to hard-working Americans, and using it as a strategy to repeal Obamacare is sure to fail, especially when its namesake is in the White House.

To be clear, I oppose Obamacare. I voted against it and, since passage, I have voted 41 times to either repeal it fully or partially. Seven of these bills have actually become law, modifying the Affordable Care Act and saving taxpayers $62 billion.

I’ve also consistently spoken out against it. But in my opinion, government shutdown is a bad idea and is ill-advised.

Shutdown is a disruption and an unwelcome reality that we never wanted to face because it produces grave consequences, including the unfair furlough of more than 800,000 federal workers and a lapse in government services. It’s a situation that I have warned against for weeks and weeks.

However, even though the House has passed numerous measures that would fund the government, the Senate and the White House refuse to negotiate a solution. They even rejected the House suggestion that we form a conference committee, made up of members from both chambers, to find a common-sense compromise.

This disagreement is no longer primarily about Obamacare; it’s about a raw power grab by President Obama, whose idea of compromise is “my way or the highway.” Throughout this entire process, he has proven to be aloof and unwilling to engage with lawmakers in a productive way.

As president of the United States, he is effectively the CEO of our country. I don’t know of any CEO of a large American corporation who would refuse to engage in negotiations to prevent company closure, yet this is exactly what the president has done.

Instead of displaying leadership and service, he simply travels the country, essentially making campaign-style speeches. While he pointedly refuses to negotiate with Republicans in the United States House of Representatives, he proudly states his willingness to negotiate with Russia, Syria and Iran. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

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