Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) defended the House Republicans stand on the partial government shutdown with Bob Schieffer of CBS News on Face the Nation.
Bob Schieffer: Well, we’re back now with one of the House Republicans who is still encouraging his Republican colleagues to stand firm on postponing Obamacare, Tim Huelskamp is in his district in Wichita, Kansas, this morning. Congressman, you have been a key player in all of this from the very beginning on the House side. what do you think you have now accomplished?
Congressman Tim Huelskamp: Well, Bob, we’re still debating, hopefully, the issue of Obamacare, which is exceedingly unpopular, and clearly unworkable and remains unfair. The last offer we sent to the Senate was two weeks ago. they have yet to have a recorded vote, and I find it interesting listening to Senators talk about what they might do. The House has passed 15 appropriations bills to keep the memorials open, take care of the veterans, take care of our troops, and the Senate just sits there. At the end of the day what we have accomplished is not much yet. but we have to focus on Obamacare, and we also have to focus on the underlying problem that’s been ignored for years, and that’s too much spending.
Schieffer: But, Congressman, don’t you have to focus on keeping the government running? Nothing can happen until the government is running. And this idea– I mean, people do this from time to time, but the idea that you can kind of put a wish list, attached to legislation to keep the government running, why is that a good idea?
Huelskamp: Well, Bob, we’ve sent bill after bill to the Senate, and they’ve rejected it. They chose to shut the government down over two issues. They did not want to extend the same break that the President gave to big business, did not want to extend that to the rest of America. And they also wanted to maintain their gold-plated health care system just for members of Congress. I think those are two very unpopular approaches from the Senate. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a spending problem, and we have a debt ceiling and it’s approaching. The debt ceiling is not the problem, Bob. It’s the fact they’ve been spending about $1 trillion more than they’re take next. I think most folks are tired of not only the games in Washington, shutting down the World War II memorial, and more importantly, which is why the Tea Party took off is they think Washington is ignoring the underlying problems of spending too much money.
Schieffer: If i could interject. I think you may have a problem coming that may be worse than all of that. If the government has to default on its debts and the term, “full faith and credit of the United States Government” is no longer operative, if that happens we’re going to plunge off into the unknown. Nobody knows what the impact of that will be on not just our economy but the world economy. Would you be willing to let that happen in order to postpone Obamacare, which you haven’t been able to do. Obamacare marches on, not marching very well right now, but Obamacare has started. And all of the rest of this is happening. Are you willing to let that happen to prove this point?
Huelskamp: Bob, I know you are probably surprised to hear me say this, but I agree with Joe Biden in August of 2011, the last time we had this type of crisis, Joe Biden admitted in China to our folks over there that there will be no default. it’s not going to happen. There are no payments due on October 17 to pay our creditors. There are no payments due until November 15. that’s why Moody’s has indicated it’s not going to have a major impact.
Schieffer: Congressman, Congressman, i don’t want to interrupt you here, but that’s not what the Secretary of the Treasury said. That is not what he reported. That just is not– you tell me.
Huelskamp: Well, he said a lot of things a week ago. I think– clearly the White House is trying to scare the markets. I think that’s unfortunate, but at the end of the day, the reality is October 17 is a date that will not have a major impact unless the White House is able to create concern about that but the real concern is not raising the debt ceiling, Bob. It’s as Senator Obama said in 2006, it’s an idea, it’s the result of failed leadership. They’re spending too much money in Washington, and this idea that we’re going to continue to maintain a $700 billion deficit. that’s the current position of the Senate, and the President is to continue these massive deficits. i mean, the frustration i have, and i think most Americans have is not only the games but more importantly the ignorance of the major problem– a $17 trillion debt, trillion dollars worth of deficits every year for the first four years of this administration, that’s why during the debt ceiling proposal last week was to say let’s talk about entitlements, let’s talk about how we can get our spending under control, not in the short term, not this week, this year, but in the next decade, and that’s yet House Republicans are pushing for a plan to balance the budget in 10 years, and Obamacare cannot be part of that plan because it blows a huge hole in our deficits.
Schieffer: Okay, I think you’ve made your point. You’re not backing off. You’re not budging a bit. All right, well, thank you very much, Congressman. We’ll be back with personal thoughts on another is very strange week in Washington.